This weekend I'm reading The World of Marcel Duchamp at the beach. He and DADA have always been an influence and I suspect will become more of one on outgoing mail art after reading this.
Kurt Schwitters has also been a motivator for me. Here's a link to some info on him for anyone interested in learning more:
Duchamp's ball of string, 'Object with Hidden Noise' is one of my most desired objects (oh, if only . . .) but from photos I have seen reproduced in books, there is a look to the man himself that I don't quite trust. 'I'm a fraud', he seems to say, 'and you have all fallen for it'. Kurt, on the other hand, seems a jolly nice fellow and one well worth having tea with (a dozen mixed fancies and a pot of Earl's Grey) I have only recently started looking at his work without preconceptions.
There is one of his collages up on Ebay at the moment if you have some spare cabbage.
Duchamp is definitely not to be trusted. Nor is any other Dadaist, after all. He gave up art for chess, among other diversions.
I see you're from England. Schwitters had a studio up in Cumbria in the Lake District. There's a small Schwitters collection in the museum in Ambleside. I understand the studio (MERZBARN) is in trouble from lack of maintenance funding from the arts council and the Chinese are interested in moving it there. Seriously. Very Dada.
I don't think I'd trust an Ebay purchase of Schwitters' work even if I did collect art. But I don't.
'Studio' is a bit grand; its an old cow shed on the edge of a village. It has had some renovation but is really too small to be useful and in the wrong place as far as building extensions and suchlike. It was long ago robbed of its art contents. Sadly it all comes down to money. It needs to earn its keep so it will either fall down or get destroyed by the developers who try and save it. The arts council refused funding because the money was needed for building work and not for art (allegedly) but they did give the trust a large amount (40 thousand or some such I read somewhere) just to develop a plan. That seems something of a waste to me especially as they then rejected the plan outright. Now if Christo was to come along and wrap the place up for a month . . .
That explains why the pictures I'd seen of it weren't too interesting. It definitely didn't look very Merz.