Best Historic Art Show Houston 2011 - "Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage" at The Menil Collection
1515 Sul Ross
Houston, TX 77006
Kurt Schwitters's early 20th-century collages were packed with the detritus of urban German life, and those collages were the focus of this stunning show, "Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage." Schwitters turned things like bus tickets, cigarette packs and chocolate wrappers into evocative gems that would influence artists for generations to come — including Texans like Robert Rauschenberg. In addition to the collages and small sculptures, the Menil brought in a painstaking replica of Schwitters's most famous work, the Merzbau. Created before WWI, the epic Merzbau filled the artist's studio; it wasn't a sculpture, it was a sculptural environment. Schwitters, who is considered by many to be the father of installation art, didn't even have a word to describe the work. The original Merzbau was destroyed by Allied bombers in 1943, and the replica was created for the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, making it a kind of pilgrimage for art lovers. "Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage" was the first time the Merzbau was shown in the United States.