Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage - opening at the Berkeley Art Museum the first week in August..
Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) was an integral part of Germany’s revolutionary art and intellectual movements in the tumultuous wake of the First World War. A loner, an epileptic, a visionary, an odd-man-out, a late developer, he went through every style of the post-war period before settling on his unique vision as a connoisseur of urban debris, rearranged into miniatures of Persian delicacy.
A master of collage, Schwitters’s diverse body of work cuts across boundaries, hierarchies, and media to include painting, sculpture, typography, poetry, sound, and architecture.
The more one sees of Schwitters, the more we see his influence, not only Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. but Kleinholtz, the SF Beats with their love of urban decay, the contemporary conceptual artists with the hanging rope and deformed wire props. He's the inspiration for Pop Art, Fluxus, Conceptual Art to site-specific art, and the forerunner of present day artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Gregor Schneider and Rachel Whiteread.
Like a prophet scorned in his own day, he saw it all, made it all and, as is true with so many great artists, came into his own only after his untimely death.
One of his avant-garde friends, on first viewing the Merzbau's bizarre grottoes and columns (which included such elegancies as a "Sex-Crime Cavern" and a bottle of the artist's urine with artificial flowers in it), thought it "a kind of fecal smearing--a sick and sickening relapse." Would it look so violent today?
more to come....