“An Unrestricted View of the Mediterranean”

Kunsthaus Zurich

A number of exhibitions this summer in Switzerland gave visitors the sense that the country’s image has become a source of civic obsession. The city of Zurich has sponsored an “action” in which some 800 plastic cows—lifelike, life-size, and bearing madcap designs—have been distributed throughout the city. They were enlisted to create an image of Zurich as “teeming with fantasy, joyful, and many-sided,” to quote the flyer announcing the event. An exhibition at the Swiss National Museum is titled “Inventing Switzerland, 1848–1998.” Its advertisements declare that “The Switzerland of the future must be reinvented!” In the questionnaire bound into the catalogue for the exhibition “An Unrestricted View of the Mediterranean: Young Swiss Art” at the Kunsthaus Zürich, one respondent writes: “Switzerland’s image is currently very bad abroad. (Ownership of a Swiss passport is not a good thing to

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