El Lissitzky Merz-Matinéen 1923

  • Not on view

The Cabaret Voltaire nightclub was launched in Zurich in February 1916 by an international group of poets and artists, including those mentioned on this program: Raoul Haussman, Kurt Schwitters, and El Lissitzky, who laid out its dynamic typography. Its programming, including the matinee advertised on this leaflet, included not only experimental poetry, lectures, improvisational dance, and music, but a variety of Dada pranks from which the audience was not immune.

The event advertised on this flyer included a reading of Schwitters’s poem “Anna Blume.” Originally published in August 1919, the poem incorporated fragments of found text and presented the perspectives of multiple narrators, bringing Schwitters both fame and criticism. Some appreciated its absurdity, while others found it to be pure nonsense. Still others considered its themes of love and longing sentimental and saccharine. Schwitters’s primary concern was with form rather than meaning. “Elements of poetry are letters, syllables, words, sentences,” he said. “Poetry arises from the interaction of those elements. Meaning is important only if it employed as one such factor. I play off sense against nonsense. I prefer nonsense, but that is a purely personal matter.”

9 x 11" (22.9 x 27.9 cm)
Robert & Chapman Leunis, Publishers
Jan Tschichold Collection, Gift of Philip Johnson
Object number
© 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Architecture and Design

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].