Picks and Pans Review: Oskar Schlemmer

updated 07/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The German-born Schlemmer has remained a shadowy figure in this country. Now a thought-provoking, important exhibit of his work, organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art, brings him into the open. A teacher at the Bauhaus, Germany's school of machine age art, Schlemmer had talent that spilled out in many directions. He was a painter, sculptor, stage designer and choreographer. He was committed to relating the common man to an increasingly technological world. So in spite of its often impersonal quality his work conveys an undeniable power and intellectual depth. Among the examples of Schlemmer's protean talents in this exhibit are his symbolic Bauhaus Staircase (the painting usually hangs at the main stairwell in New York's Museum of Modern Art) and reconstructions of space-age costumes he developed for his 1922 Triadic Ballet. The Nazis labeled his art "degenerate," and Schlemmer died brokenhearted at the age of 55 in 1943. This show will arrive at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis Nov. 9, with a possible intermediate stop in San Diego.

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