Monday, April 25, 2011

Gardens, Schwitters and ANZAC Day

On Saturday I was able to spend time at the Schwitters exhibit in the Art Museum on the Princeton campus, and to wander about the Wilson House gardens, all decked out for spring, in their formal Italian style.

And yesterday an email from Minimiss reminded me that today is ANZAC Day when we honor and thank the brave military from Australia and New Zealand who offered all they had in defense of the UK in WW2. Such amazing courage and fortitude, to literally come from the other end of the earth to take part on what they considered a worthwhile cause to fight. Canadians, likewise, not to omit them.

I usually don't make much of military exploits, not wanting to give the impression that they are glorious and ought to be repeated, when they are quite the opposite, but ANZAC moves me in a way that most remembrances tend not to.

And it happened that the Schwitters exhibit was of his collages, and a reconstruction of the walk in sculpture in his apartment in the thirties in Germany, before the building was destroyed in the WW2. He himself was considered subversive by the Nazi regime, fled to Norway, the Nazis took Norway, fled to the UK, was interned and finally was free to work again. So ANZAC was very much a part of his story, too, though he was probably too busy trying to stay alive to register it.

A lot of what he did, now considered ordinary in art, such as installations, collages of everyday objects,both two and three dimensional, were really ground breaking when he created them, and the exhibit shows his development from stage to stage, from painting with additional collage features, to pure collage, to carefully geometrically designed and color balanced work. The walk through sculpture was an experience you just had to be there. And there was a setup where you could hear his own voice reciting a poem he wrote, booming throughout the exhibit. If this exhibit travels, I'd strongly suggest you try to get to it, and if you're local, just go! it's there for several more weeks.

And then the contrast of walking around the gardens at the Woodrow Wilson house, this weekend with many tourists on campus, I got to take the usual photograph of the family who all wanted to be in the picture. But the gardens, back again in bloom for another spring, seem to be a nice tribute to the troops who did not make it to another spring. So I'll just post them and let you join in.


  1. Fantastic, Liz!
    Thank you for the reminder of the ANZAC support. I will look for the exhibit and hope it's on its way west.



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