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T+L Reports: Dream Teams

It's easy to forget that friendships can inspire artists as much as rivalries can. Two shows opening this month in Basel, Switzerland, focus on the creative dialogues of four pioneering Modernists. The Fondation Beyeler's "Calder—Miró" mines the parallels between Alexander Calder's captivating wire mobiles and Surrealist Joan Miró's dreamlike "poetry paintings," along with collaborative projects (May 2-September 5). Meanwhile, "Schwitters—Arp," at the Kunstmuseum through August 22, explores maverick collagist Kurt Schwitters's relationship with fellow Dadaist Jean Arp, who introduced him to collage. In a 1920 essay, Schwitters—known for building the Merzbau, a towering assemblage that pierced a ceiling in his Hannover home—noted that of his Dada cohorts he was "particularly fond" of Arp. The feeling was mutual. Together they wrote a novel, declaimed poetry, and created driftwood reliefs. Arp artworks even made their way into the Merzbau. See the structure for yourself at the nearby Museum Jean Tinguely: there's an ambitious re-creation on view through August 22.
—Kristin M. Jones

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