February 20, 2015 - Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst - Xanti Schawinsky
February 20, 2015

Xanti Schawinsky

Xanti Schawinsky, Untitled, 1928. Scene from Olga-Olga. B/W photograph, 17.5 x 23.6 cm. Photo: Theodor Lukas “Lux” Feininger. Courtesy of the Estate of T. Lux Feininger.

Xanti Schawinsky
21 February–17 May 2015

Opening: Friday 20 February, 6–9 pm

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270
CH-8005 Zürich
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 11am–6pm,
Thursday 11am–8pm, Saturday–Sunday 10am–5pm


The Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst presents the first comprehensive retrospective of the oeuvre of the Swiss artist Alexander “Xanti” Schawinsky (born Basel, 1904–died Locarno, 1979). In his lifetime, Schawinsky was mainly known for his work in the theater department at the Bauhaus. In the 1930s, while teaching at Black Mountain College, a legendary art college in North Carolina that provided refuge for many European emigrants during the Nazi era, Schawinsky, building on his Bauhaus work, developed his dramatic theory known as “Spectodrama.” Involving multimedia productions, it represents an early form of the “happening,” which would later be made famous by another affiliate of the same institution, John Cage. Schawinsky’s work as a painter also addresses the dissolution of the medium’s boundaries and focuses on the process, for instance in his “Track” series, which he “painted” with the aid of a car. Beyond the avant-garde utopias of the Bauhaus and his proto-happening art, Schawinsky’s oeuvre is linked in many ways to the majory tendencies in European as well as American prewar and postwar 20th-century modernism. His work may thus also be seen as representative of the transatlantic exchange of artistic ideas that was induced by the political situation and had a lasting impact on art history. This exhibition is the first to present the full breadth of Schawinsky’s outstanding oeuvre (which was inaccessible to the public for several decades) and positions it both within a historical context and in relation to its continuing effect on the present.

In conjunction with the Xanti Schawinsky retrospective, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst presents a new series of performances by international artists that engage with Schawinsky’s creations for the stage and their influence on contemporary theatrical design.

Thursday 12 March, 7pm
Lucy Stein and Andrew Kerton: The White Hotel Revisited (2015)

Thursday 16 April, 7pm
Jimmy Robert: Abolibibelo (2015)

Thursday 23 April, 7pm
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd: Spotlight on Schawinsky (2015)

The exhibition will be accompanied by a monographic JRP|Ringier publication with essays by Torsten Blume, Eva Díaz, Raphael Gygax, Juliet Koss and Tobias Peper.

Curated by Raphael Gygax, Curator, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Director of the museum: Heike Munder


Xanti Schawinsky at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Share - Xanti Schawinsky
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York