Galerie Gmurzynska Donates $36,000 to Save Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn

The donation was suggested to the gallery by the late Zaha Hadid.

The site at Langdale Photo: merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com
The site at Langdale
Photo: merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com
Schwitter's Cumbria Merz Barn <br> Photo: Courtesy Merz Barn Langdale.

Schwitter’s Cumbria Merz Barn. Photo: Courtesy Merz Barn Langdale.

Galerie Gmurzynska has donated £25,000 ($36,000) to the Littoral Arts Trust to fund the restoration and maintenance of Kurt Schwitters‘ Merz Barn in Langdale, Cumbria, allowing them to make urgent repairs.

The donation was suggested to the gallery by the late Zaha Hadid, who had worked extensively with Galerie Gmurzynska on exhibitions and installations, until her untimely death in March.

The barn, which contains the unfinished work by Schwitters, was damaged earlier this year by the cyclone Storm Desmond, and is in need of urgent restoration in order to stay standing.

The donation—a good portion of the £100,000 that the Littoral Arts Trust are hoping to raise in total—will allow the barn to stay standing for another 50 to 100 years.

“The donation was a wonderful surprise and a greatly welcomed boost to the Trust’s efforts to raise an estimated total of £100,000, now needed to undertake emergency storm repairs and stabilization work on all four of the main heritage buildings on the Merz Barn site,” Celia Larner, chairperson of the Littoral Trust, said in a statement.

“This is something that everybody in the international art world would want to support, and Galerie Gmurzynska has given us some extra time,” she added.

The site at Langdale Photo: merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com

The site at Langdale. Photo: Courtesy Merz Barn Langdale.

Schwitters arrived in the UK after fleeing the Nazi invasion of Norway, where he had been living as a refugee from the Nazi regime. On arriving in the UK, he hosted Dada evenings while interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man, according to the Guardian.

After being freed in 1941, he moved to London and then to Cumbria in the Lake District. Unfortunately, Schwitters died in 1948 before he was able to finish the barn-based Merzbau, his third work of this nature.

The Littoral Trust receives no government funding, so it has launched a national campaign to raise the remaining £70,000 they need to complete the project (the University of Cumbria has also made a donation of £5,000).

In June, Galerie Gmurzynska will open exhibition of Schwitters’ work at its Zurich gallery, as part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Dada. Schwitters’ work will be shown inside an installation designed by Hadid, inspired by the original Merzbau in Hanover.


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