Paul Ferdinand Schmidt purchases The Merzpicture, 1919, for the Dresden Stadtmuseum(for sum of 1,400 reichsmarks).
Christof Spengemann’s monograph Die Wahrheit über Anna Blume,Kritik der Kunst, Kritik der Kritik, Kritik der Zeit appears in Der Zweemann-Verlag,Hanover.
First exhibition of Merzbilder in Schwitters’s home town of Hanover (includedin the third exhibition of the Hanover Secession at the Kestner-Gesellschaft).
Visits Max Ernst in Cologne; return visit of Max Ernst in Hanover in second halfof that year.
First public recitals in the Sturm gallery (5 and 11 May; first recital togetherwith Rudolf Blümner, second with Herwarth Walden).
This attempt to recuperate Schwitters as “one of the ‘father figures’ for the generation of the avant-garde after the Second World War” risks a certain causal determinism (7). It is too easy to start seeing Rauschenberg and Johns in every scrap of torn newsprint and frenzied brushstroke of a Schwitters collage. Bestowing an art-historical pedigree, if one of future influence rather than past lineage, undoubtedly provides art-historical validation and legitimation and has the propensity to bias interpretation of Schwitters’s practice by preventing us from seeing his work on its own terms.
Since the comprehensive retrospective of Schwitters' works in 1956 which traveled from Hannover to Berne, Amsterdam, and Brussels his fame has grown, and the catalogues of later exhibitions have become important contributions to the understanding of the artist.
I Is Style, accompanying a show seen in Amsterdam and Leipzig, mixes four essays on aspects of Schwitters’s career with nine of his own short writings, six remembrances by his contemporaries, and more than 75 illustrations of his “merz” collages.
The curators/editors set out to demonstrate the artist’s continuing influence on many strands of contemporary art by presenting large-format illustrations of 230 works in all media by Schwitters as well as 80 more pieces by 32 other artists.
This is, of course, to the point of the exhibition’s interrogation of art history’s temporal and spatial complexities. The exhibition and catalogue both suggest the ever-continuing process of art-historical reception; meanings are always constructed ex post facto in the present and relayed back on works from the past. uncovers the recursive logic of art history, the way in which artists come into view through repetitions and re-articulations, through cyclical movements and new prerogatives. We might term this the “Schwitters Effect,” for it mirrors the way Marcel Duchamp emerged through his postwar reception (for more on this dynamic, see , Martha Buskirk and Mignon Nixon, eds., Cambridge, MA: Press, 1996). In identifying such a historiographic dynamic, demands renewed critical investigation of an artist and a media practice that remain surprisingly timely.
3), of the essay The Merz Stage,the poem An Anna Blume (translated into Hungarian by Kahána Mózes),and Merzbilder reproductions.
First inclusion in an exhibition at the Galerie von Garvens in Hanover (inlaidboxes made to Schwitters’s own designs); exhibits at the same gallery againin July 1921 and October/November 1922.
Involved in producing the periodical Die Quirlsanze, edited by RudolfBlümnerand appearing on the occasion of the "Sturm ball".
Alternatively, a work like , dated 1923, employs a forced order that closely reflects the graph paper embedded in its surface; its diverse materials adhere to a strict linearity and rigid structure. But such formal control belies the work’s tongue-in-cheek subversion of artistic autonomy. The collage prominently displays an entry ticket for an exhibition of Eduard Manet’s painting (1873)—with an admission fee of five francs—at its top edge. Paired with a typed fragment serving as Schwitters’s “signature” at lower left, this element functions to unmask if not openly mock the aura of originality by mediating the work of art through mechanical reproduction and commodity fetishism.
Perhaps the most puzzling and evocative of Schwitters’s Merz works is the . Webster’s catalogue essay provides a very helpful and detailed account of the work’s strange genesis and multiple iterations. But the reconstructed version on display in , completed by set designer Peter Bissegger in 1983, only provokes yet more questions of historical reception. There is something uncanny and even thrilling about entering a work previously experienced only in grainy black-and-white photographs. But this also reads less as art-historical reconstruction than trompe l’oeil imitation. After a gallery attendant instructed me to get out of its alcoves, lest I interact too much with the piece, it seemed clear that the work was more a sanitized, or maybe anesthetized, simulacrum of the original.
Schwitters's aesthetic practice and reflection turn on his program of Merz, a theory of abstract montage that supplied him with both an analytic framework and a brand label for his diverse artistic pursuits. His first comprehensive articulation of the concept is found in an essay from 1920 that sketches his position with regard to the politicization of the German avant-garde following the establishment of the Berlin Club Dada in 1918. Schwitters's unstated aim in this text...
, the first solo retrospective of Schwitters’s work in the United States in twenty-five years, makes a compelling case for the artist’s continued relevance. Originated at the Menil Collection in Houston and curated by Isabel Schulz, executive director of the Kurt und Ernst Schwitters Stiftung and curator of the Kurt Schwitters Archiv at the Sprengel Museum Hannover, the show includes assemblages, reliefs, sculptures, collages, and even a reconstruction of Schwitters’s famed —an immersive environment of accumulated refuse, sculptural projections, and spatial constructions that was originally destroyed by bombing in 1943. Above all, the exhibition emphasizes the Merz collages Schwitters produced between 1920 and 1940, striking works that need to be seen in person to fully appreciate their detail. As installed at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the exhibition was impressive: articulate and informative wall text enlivened the show without leading viewers too much; groups of related works hung on walls in well-selected, even collage-like formations; and the collages themselves functioned like puzzles or coded messages, inviting viewers to decipher them through extended close encounters. Moreover, the accompanying catalogue makes an important contribution to the scholarly literature, with essays by Schulz, Leah Dickerman, and Gwendolen Webster, a carefully researched timeline by Clare Elliott, and many high-quality color reproductions. The project re-imagines and re-animates an artist who has otherwise remained somewhat marginalized in the historiography of Dada.
1), illustrated by Käte Steinitz, in 50 signed, hand-colouredcopies, by the publishing house Apossverlag, which Kurt Schwitters co-establishedwith Käte Steinitz (as Aposs 1; simultaneously as Merz12), as well as publicationof Die Märchen vom Paradies, illustrated by Käte Steinitz, Aposs Verlag(Aposs 2; 1925 as Merz 16/17).