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Cabaret Voltaire Needs $13 Million

Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, the very heart of Dada, the anti-everything art movement that’s been the mother to numerous aesthetic and philosophical enterprises since its founding by Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings one hundred years ago, needs $13 million to keep going, reports Nathalie Eggs of the Art Newspaper.

In 2002, a group of self-proclaimed neo-Dadaists occupied the building to prevent it from being developed into a high-end housing complex. In 2004 it reopened as a cultural space, supported by municipal funding. The right-wing UDC party is trying to stop the local government from subsidizing the cabaret’s nearly $318,000 annual rent. The watch manufacturer Swatch recently withdrew its support of $303,000 as well.

“It would be good to transform the Cabaret Voltaire into a center for artists to manage the place and give it a more international dimension,” says its director, Adrian Notz. This, however, is only possible if Swiss Life, the building’s owner, is willing to sell. “We can understand that [Cabaret Voltaire] is inspiring creative ideas during its centenary year. Nevertheless, we will not be drawn into speculations of this type,” said Swiss Life.