Kurt Schwitters’ Words (and Fragments Thereof)
Prof. Graham Bader, Rice University
Thur., 16 May, 12 Uhr c.t.
Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte
Room 3.30, Georgenstraße 47
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
A central innovation of Kurt Schwitters’ collage practice was his integration of text as abstract compositional matter–of words and word fragments as a form of “color” to be used irrespective of original semantic context or value. Beginning in 1924, however, Schwitters pursued design projects motivated by precisely the opposite goal: he sought to streamline typographic form as a means to intensify the communicative force of both words and the images they filled. This talk will examine the seeming opposition between these two aspects of Schwitters’ practice: between his shared commitments to words as both abstract forms and communicative tools, as both matter and sense.
Graham Bader is Associate Professor of Art History at Rice University in Houston and the author of Hall of Mirrors: Roy Lichtenstein and the Face of Painting in the 1960s (October Books, 2010).A frequent contributor to Artforum, Bader’s writing on modern and contemporary art has also appeared in Grey Room, the Oxford Art Journal, Art History, and Art Journal, as well as in numerous museum catalogues in Europe and the US. His current research focuses on the work of Kurt Schwitters.