Featured post: Return Merz Wall

 Featured posts & topics from the London Dada archives; 2005 – present

On returning Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Wall to the Merz Barn, Elterwater


In July 2018, the official Kurt Schwitters Society UK ( new website online, March 2020 ) published in its Newsletter the following interview with artist Michael St.Mark on the possibility of returning Schwitters’ Merz Wall from the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle – where it has been on view since the 1960s –  back to its place of origin and obviously intended exhibition status as integral to the Merz Barn in Elterwater, Great Langdale.

Editor, scholar and recognized KS authority Gwendolen Webster raises some thorny issues and poses challenging questions surrounding both the practicality and artistic merit of such a future move.
PDF here..



” The Spirit of Merz ”
© Michael St.Mark 2020

A hand-finished 2-image digital overlay collage print comprising photographs of the Merz Wall in situ at Merz Barn, Langdale circa 1950 ( by Ernst Schwitters ), and that of Kurt Schwitters, selected from the well-known portrait series.
Photographic print, hand-finished in ink and coloured graphite. 8x 8″  (Unique work)

Part of “Schwitters’ Army” – an international collage collection; compiled, curated and now archived at Merz Gallery, Sanquhar by Ric Kasini Kadour, artist in residence, January & February 2020


Featured Post 2 ( Coronavirus update )
Uniquely psychologically relevant to the present dire world situation.
A succinct visual encapsulation metaphor of the stranglehold of money over morality

Link to the post


Featured post 3

November 2018

100 years since the end of WW1 and the Armistice of November 1918.
High time surely to re-design the traditional poppy to add a long-overdue reminder to our politicians to never again allow an unjustified war such as the Iraq debacle, that was essentially based on oil prospects rather than national defence.



Featured Post 3

LONDON DADA’s 10 – year pressure campaign to delete ageism from the Turner Prize  finally bears fruit, via 2017 winner Lubaina Himid ( 64 )


Turner Prize chiefs finally shamed into removing the anachronistic and blatantly ageist Under-50 rule for shortlisted entrants. Did any other artists have the moral backbone to put their careers at risk by daring to criticize the TP directors over this?

The artist expands awareness and when the breakthrough is made, this becomes part of the general awareness
William S. Burroughs

Click through X2 on the collage for full legibility
Protest leaflet from Turner Prize 2016 event; after 25 years of art ageism and following London Dada’s 2016 expose, the Under-50 rule was scrapped for the very next year’s Prize.

Video; ” Raising Tate Britain 1p Above the Art Poverty Line “

Rausing Tate Britain One p above the art poverty line

Link to 2016 blog post ” The Ageist Turner Prize



Featured Post No. 4

Re-visited Work No. 631 from 2012; this longstanding shameful national phenomenon is again highlighted in a damning new report (see link below).

The Doors to Equal Opportunity
c. Michael St.Mark 2012

Padlocked door pair rendered in light/dark blue ( Oxbridge boatrace colors )
Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill London N.

As London Dada has been highlighting over the past 9 years, Britain is a highly discriminatory employment fascist state in job opportunity lockdown. While only 1% of the adult population and 7% of graduates have attended private fee-paying schools, on average well over half of top jobs in Banking & Finance, Media, Law, PLCs and Politics in the UK are filled by this Oxbridge etc-educated elite, creating and maintaining a time-honoured and deeply-entrenched network of cronyism and privilege that controls all the serious power and wields the major influence in this, the most class-divided nation on earth.

Result – selective promotion from a small talent pool that’s based on elitism rather than merit, leading inexorably to bad, out-of-touch governance and management, and more importantly fair opportunity denied to millions of gifted young people whose talents are tragically wasted – many forced to spend an entire lifetime languishing in unsuitable low skill work, trapped under bomb-proof glass ceilings rigorously enforced and gate-keepered by all the major institutions and corporations.

Totally outrageous and morally indefensible in any society claimed by its government to be democratic and civilized.



To purchase a signed edition fine art print of this Work, link here


Confessions of a white Oxbridge male
by Simon Kuper

( Taken from The Financial Times )

” We straight white Oxbridge-educated males who rule Britain are used to periodic rumblings of discontent from below. Now the transvestite artist Grayson Perry, writing in the New Statesman magazine, has savaged what he calls “Default Man”: “With their colourful textile phalluses hanging round their necks, they make up an overwhelming majority in government, in boardrooms and also in the media.” The writer Caitlin Moran half-jokes that she is the only working-class Briton with a newspaper column: “I have the entire quota.” Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news.

Indeed, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission notes that 59 per cent of the British cabinet, three-quarters of senior judges, half of diplomats, etc, went to Oxbridge. The typical chief executive attended Oxbridge or Harvard, says business data firm Qlik. Few of these people are women. Even those of us who groom the lower slopes of the establishment – pundits, MPs, and so forth – tend to be Oxbridge men. My caste produces the opinions that most British people are expected to swallow. However, the one topic we seldom discuss honestly is our own rule.

So let me try to describe how it looks from up here. We didn’t have to work very hard to get here. Luckily, the British establishment doesn’t demand workaholism, except for a few months around exams. The gentleman dilettante is still honored (see David Cameron). Our competition to get into Oxbridge was mostly limited to other white upper-middle-class males. After that, we began recruiting each other. When I applied to the FT 20 years ago, I think I was interviewed only by white Oxbridge men, all of them straight (except for one who soon afterwards came out of the closet). My start in journalism was unimpressive but then I didn’t have much to prove: I already was a white Oxbridge male. Aged 28, I became a columnist at another British newspaper. Perry quotes the American writer John Scalzi, who “thought that being a straight white male was like playing the computer game called Life with the difficulty setting on ‘Easy’”. About the same time as I began work, a black friend started out at another newspaper. His news editor had little confidence in him, and my friend never got the career he wanted. Perhaps I now have his job. We Oxbridge males help each other throughout life. Perry remarks that nobody talks about the “white middle-class community”. But it exists. Once, in a faraway land, I visited the British ambassador. Lo and behold, he was a straight white Oxbridge-educated male! He was like a friend I’d never met. He ended up giving me a briefing in his swimming pool. We Oxbridge males display exemplary class solidarity. Our basic ideology is: trust in the system. After all, the system is run by chaps like me. I did my degree two minutes’ walk from Cameron’s college, and five minutes from the opposition leader Ed Miliband’s. I don’t identify with everyone in the establishment, because of intra-caste divides that are invisible to outsiders (for instance, Cameron is far posher than me) but the current popular rage at politicians bewilders me. Like the communist rulers in 1989, we white Oxbridge males cannot defend our dominance with arguments. Most of us know we didn’t get here through individual brilliance.

Perry is wrong when he says, “Default Man will never admit to, or be fully aware of, the tribal advantages of his identity.” I’m very aware of those advantages. That’s why, although I currently have a decent job at a good newspaper, I feel very little sense of achievement. My dad went to Cambridge. I was born to be a minor establishment functionary. That’s also why I’m not desperate for my children to join the establishment. What would it prove? Our caste is always changing, just enough to make sure that everything stays the same. Lately we’ve learnt to lament the suffering of the disadvantaged. (I’m told that even younger members of the kleptocratic Angolan elite have mastered this rhetoric.) Indeed, many of the most stirring attacks on inequality and sexism are now produced by Oxbridge males – but then we produce most attacks on most things in Britain. Given our podium, many of us feel a responsibility to lament our own power. But it’s hard to feel this viscerally. I believe that other people should rule. However, I’d like to hang on to my own spot. We will not make the revolution – or as the British say, turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. We have expanded our caste a little. We now recruit some non-whites (preferably Oxbridge men). We’ve even begun admitting Oxbridge women. We just sideline them professionally the moment they make the mistake of giving birth. Still, our caste has kept raising the age at which females hit the glass ceiling: from zero, to 17 once they were allowed proper education, to 21 when we let them into Oxbridge, and now to 38. That’s progress, of sorts. Perry warns darkly that Default Man might not rule for ever: “Things may be changing.” But I think we’ll hang on for a while yet”

simon.kuper@ft.com, Twitter@KuperSimon