This website serves as the final project for a graduate seminar in Digital Art History taught at the University of Oregon in the Spring of 2015. This course examines new modes of disseminating art historical materials in the digital age, and speculates on fundamental changes that the field may face in the future. This particular Omeka project examines the evolution of Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, one of the most influential works in twentieth-century art.
The Merzbau, which was destroyed by an Allied bomb in 1943, is a work that is shrouded in mystery. However, scholars have worked diligently since the sculpture’s destruction to understand its development using first-hand descriptions and a series of photographs, the latter of which are the primary content of this digital exhibition. This exhibition is an attempt to visualize the progression of the Merzbau through these photographs in order to demonstrate Schwitters’ gradual movement away from the fragmented aesthetics of Berlin Dada towards the ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk (the German conception of the total work of art).