Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kemp Mooney: Architect | Educator @ Central

Last night at Central, Atlanta's Downtown Library, it was a treat for all who were there on site to witness Professor Kemp Mooney's lecture about Bauhaus and Breuer. Mr. Mooney, himself an architect and veteran educator who has been teaching for more than 30 years, presented in his lecture, an oral history of the Bauhaus and early American Modernism.

Using a well organized archive of photographs and ephemera, Professor Kemp succinctly synthesized 7 decades of both personal and observational milestones and occasions, reducing a formidable wealth of knowledge into a conversational narration based on analysis and direct personal experience.

After his talk, there was a brief Q & A session, where the Professor was asked about the challenges facing the Downtown Library and what he thought might be done to raise awareness towards a more sane approach to urban renewal. Kemp responded effectively saying that he thought that the lack of awareness was in large part directly due to the fact that the "children of Atlanta don't grow up being around and hearing about good architecture. " Continuing to speak to this point, he highlighted the fact that when new architectural students enter school here in the city, that most often those students are not required to take a class on the more recent aspect(s) of architectural history, Mid-Century Modernism; also synonymous with the Bauhaus and the International Style.

The point seemed well taken. Still, with individuals like Isabelle Hyman, Barry Bergdoll, Susan Piedemont-Palladino, Jon Buono, George Smart and Jonathan Lerner also playing a role in the eloquent dissemination of information signifying the relativity of Bauhaus, Breuer and Modernism, though the challenges of transformative learning may at this time seem a daunting task, the reality being revealed is that a certain degree of interest does exists.