On Our Shelves
Kurt Schwitters was a major protagonist in the histories of modern art and literature, whose response to the contradictions of modern life rivals that of Marcel Duchamp in its importance for artists working today. His celebrated Merz pictures—collaged and assembled from the scrap materials of popular culture and the debris of the studio, such as newspaper clippings, wood, cardboard, fabric, and paint—reflect a lifelong interest in collection, fragmentation, and abstraction, techniques he also applied to language and graphic design.
As the first anthology in English of the critical and theoretical writings of this influential artist, Myself and My Aims makes the case for Schwitters as one of the most creative thinkers of his generation. Including material that has never before been published, this volume presents the full range of his prolific writing on the art and attitudes of his time, joining existing translations of his children’s stories, poetry, and fiction to give new readers unprecedented access to his literary imagination. With an accessible introduction by Megan R. Luke and elegant English translations by Timothy Grundy, this book will prove an exceptional resource for artists, scholars, and enthusiasts of his art.
About the Author
Megan R. Luke is associate professor of art history at the University of Southern California.
"The collages Kurt Schwitters made may be instantly recognisable but less well known is his writing, from artistic credos to children’s stories – collected in an anthology in English for the first time."
— Apollo, "Off the Shelf" Column
"The first anthology in English of the critical and theoretical writings of the influential artist best known for his Merz assemblages, demonstrating the range of his creative thinking."
— The Bookseller
“This indispensable collection follows Schwitters’ swiftly changing thought on a diverse range of subjects from architecture and painting to graphic art and poetry. In each case Schwitters delivers his canny diagnosis with rigor, humor, and unflinching belligerence. No figure was able to reconcile Dadaist nihilism with constructivist optimism quite like Schwitters, and his striking insights about the hollow metaphysics of consumer society will not fail to resonate with anyone torn between the positions of critique and complicity today.”
— Devin Fore, Princeton University