MERZ In the beginning was Merz – From Kurt Schwitters to the present day

In the opening essay of I Is Style, editor Fuchs, director of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, notes that Schwitters “has thus far been either relatively absent or been presented as a curious outsider. He was much more important than that.” Both observations are true, but, one hopes, the two major exhibitions for which these catalogs were produced will help to raise his stature. 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. Unfortunately, the essays are rather poorly translated and do not provide the sort of introduction to the artist and his diverse career one would expect from a retrospective catalog. And, though the bright and clear illustrations offer works from the full range of his collage output (1918-47), one wishes for some examples of his painting, sculpture, installations, and typographic works. However, Schwitters’s poems and two-page autobiography (1926) and the recollections of friends are wonderful resources, which even those new to the artist will appreciate. The Sprengel Museum in Hanover, Schwitters’s beloved home until he fled the Nazis, has put together a show that is both more comprehensive and more focused. 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. The parallels between Schwitters and Louise Nevelson, Cy Twombly, Nam June Paik, Joseph Beuys, and other artists are sometimes subtle and sometimes striking but always thought-provoking. The ten short essays offer both biographical overview and investigations of his legacy to movements such as pop art, action art, installation art, and sound poetry.

Text: Katenhusen Ines, Schaub Gerhard et al. cm 26×30,5; pp. 346; COL and BW; hardcover with dust jacket. Publisher: Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, 2000.

ISBN: 9783775709514| 3775709517

Product Description

In the opening essay of I Is Style, editor Fuchs, director of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, notes that Schwitters “has thus far been either relatively absent or been presented as a curious outsider. He was much more important than that.” Both observations are true, but, one hopes, the two major exhibitions for which these catalogs were produced will help to raise his stature. 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. Unfortunately, the essays are rather poorly translated and do not provide the sort of introduction to the artist and his diverse career one would expect from a retrospective catalog. And, though the bright and clear illustrations offer works from the full range of his collage output (1918-47), one wishes for some examples of his painting, sculpture, installations, and typographic works. However, Schwitters’s poems and two-page autobiography (1926) and the recollections of friends are wonderful resources, which even those new to the artist will appreciate. The Sprengel Museum in Hanover, Schwitters’s beloved home until he fled the Nazis, has put together a show that is both more comprehensive and more focused. 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. The parallels between Schwitters and Louise Nevelson, Cy Twombly, Nam June Paik, Joseph Beuys, and other artists are sometimes subtle and sometimes striking but always thought-provoking. The ten short essays offer both biographical overview and investigations of his legacy to movements such as pop art, action art, installation art, and sound poetry.