Public Program

On Drawing: Graham Bader on Kurt Schwitters

Graham Bader delivers a talk on his recently published book, Poisoned Abstraction: Kurt Schwitters Between Revolution and Exile (Yale University Press, 2021). Active as an artist, designer, publisher, performer, critic, poet, and playwright, Kurt Schwitters is best known for intimately scaled, materially rich collages and assemblages made from found objects—often refuse—that the artist described as having lost all contact with their role and history in the world at large. But as Bader explores in his publication, such simple separation of art and life is precisely what Schwitters’s “poisoned abstraction” calls into question. Bader’s presentation is followed by a conversation with John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute, Edouard Kopp.

About the speaker:

Graham Bader is the Associate Professor and Chair of Art History at Rice University. The author of Hall of Mirrors: Roy Lichtenstein and the Face of Painting in the 1960s (MIT Press, 2010) and editor of October Files: Roy Lichtenstein (MIT Press, 2009), he has published widely on topics across modern and contemporary art. His book Poisoned Abstraction: Kurt Schwitters between Revolution and Exile—which rethinks the work of one of the interwar European avant-garde’s most idiosyncratic figures—was published by Yale University Press in fall 2021.

Attending the program:

This program takes place in the Menil Drawing Institute, located at 1412 W. Main St. Further information regarding accessibility and parking can be found here. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

About the series:

On Drawing is an initiative of the Menil Drawing Institute. Each year, several programs address topics ranging from the history, theory, criticism, and materiality of drawing. Leading academics, curators, and experts in the field are invited to participate alongside Menil curators and conservators.