Thursday, May 09, 2013

Tate Britain Schwitters curation and Idea #117 Social Darwinism

Early 'Pop Art' by Kurt Schwitters
The Schwitters retrospective at Tate Britain  only has a few more days to run and with this in mind I made the journey yesterday to Pimlico.

Kurt Schwitters (1887- 1948) was a German  artist who on being classified by the Nazi regime as 'degenerate'  escaped first to Norway and then England, sadly he died at the relatively young age of 60 one day  after being notified of being granted English Citizenship.
Kurt's work was varied (in the terms of the areas he covered), he was a poet, a sculptor and created a movement with Merz, he might now be remembered chiefly for his collages but he was also a very talented portrait and landscape painter. Merz was described by Schwitters as a way of using found objects he said - “new art forms out of the remains of a former culture.”
For me the exhibition showed how influential Schwitters was in what became known as 'Pop Art' this was clear in works in Untitled (the Ox) and Mz x 22 wantee (1947) and Mz x20 big Fight.
To find out more about the man take a look here.
The picture shown here (to me) looks as a clear influence on Richard Hamilton and Peter Blake.

Also I had another look at Atkinson Grimshaw's Liverpool Quay by Moonlight - wow.

(Note to self -find out more about Keith Arnatt)

Idea number 117 is Social Darwinism

Forgive the spelling!
Social Darwinism is the perhaps somewhat distasteful idea that led top Eugenics. It is a theory credited to Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) who labelled Darwin's findings from On the Origin of the Species as 'Survival of the fittest'.
Spencer believed that some traits should be 'bred out' of the 'inferior stock' this theory has been seized upon by some who believe in the inherent superiority of some  racial groups.
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