Kaye Donachie

Maureen Paley

In 1973, Harald Szeemann—while working on his Museum der Obsessionen—became himself obsessed by the Swiss utopia Monte Verità, near Lake Maggiore, and eventually a museum was established to celebrate the site’s history. The mountaintop retreat—nominally founded by the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin (at a time when it was still known as Monescia) in the 1870s—flourished between 1900 and 1940, when it attracted anarchists, nudists, and Theosophists alongside such figures as Martin Buber, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Rudolf von Laban, Isadora Duncan, Hermann Hesse (who famously had his alcoholism treated there), and the sexual revolutionary Otto Gross. (In fact, Szeemann portrayed Gross in Otto Mühl’s 1987 film Back to Fucking Cambridge, and ever since, Gross scholarship has been tied to Szeemann’s work on the mountain.) In this alpine hideaway the curator sought to pursue his endless quest for

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