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Dada (1916-1923)

Short but truly memorable in the annals of modern art, many elements of the Dada movement left a lasting impact on art history going forward. Here is information about Dada and the artists behind it, and, of course, examples of Dadaist art.

Art History 101: Dada
Dada was, officially, not a movement, its artists not artists and its art not art. That sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Of course, there is a bit more to the story of Dadaism than this simplistic explanation.

Artists: Dada
An alphabetical listing of visual (and literary) artists who worked in or were directly influenced by the Dada movement that arose in 1916.

Special Exhibition Image Gallery: Dada at MoMA - Zurich
Birthplace of Dada, neutral Zurich is represented in its section of the exhibition as the refuge it was for a group of expatriated writers and artists who'd fled to Switzerland during World War I. United by their anger, and availing themselves of the platform the nightclub, Cafe Voltaire offered, founding members Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, Francis Picabia, Christian Schad and Sophie Taeuber-Arp dove headfirst into new ways of experimenting with abstract sight and thought.

Special Exhibition Image Gallery: Dada at MoMA - Paris
Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Francis Picabia and the poet Tristan Tzara were among the Dadaists who collaborated to bring Paris its "Dada Season" between the years 1920 and 1923. Part spectacle and part scandal, their slew of exhibitions, performances, readings, publications and printed press editorials were wholly sensational. The Paris section of Dada demonstrates the lengths to which these artists would go in their attempts to shake up the post-war status quo.

Special Exhibition Image Gallery: Dada at MoMA - New York
Appropriately, New York City Dada was something of a "melting pot" of styles. The arrivals of Marcel Duchamp, Jean Crotti and Francis Picabia, in 1915, formed the nucleus of the Dadaists who would cheerfully avail themselves of the heavily industrialized United States' bounty of machines and other manufactured objects. The New York section of Dada concentrates on readymade objects, new technology (as with airbrushing) and graphic works reminiscent of mechanical drawing.

Special Exhibition Image Gallery: Dada at MoMA - Hannover
Dada, as it occurred in Hannover, was basically Kurt Schwitters' one-man show. Denied membership in Berlin's Club Dada for not being "political enough," he formed the Dada sub-movement of Merz (a fragment of the word "Kommerz," taken from a bank's newspaper advertisement and incorporated into an early piece). The Hannover section of Dada is notable for containing four of Schwitters' limited amount of large-scale assemblages and collages.

Special Exhibition Image Gallery: Dada at MoMA - Cologne
Cologne was under British occupation from 1918 to 1926. In this International atmosphere of imposed order and censorship, Max Ernst and company protested order, tradition and hierarchy by way of exploring a collective psyche filled with "subconscious" imagery containing incongruous juxtapositions and references to amputated limbs. The Cologne section of Dada amply illustrates that Surrealism would later owe that city's Dada artists (and Ernst, in particular) quite an inspirational debt.

Special Exhibition Image Gallery: Dada at MoMA - Berlin
The Berlin section of Dada reflects that this city pioneered the then new medium of photomontage, in the context of an overtly political tone. Club Dada artists such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield and Hannah Höch took this tone to reflect their collective disgust with German nationalism in the struggling post-World War I Deutsches Reich (German Empire). A rare group of collages by Johannes Baader are seen for the first time in the United States in this exhibition.

Outline of Art History - Modern Art
A chronological outline, by decade, of the different movements in art from 1880 to ca. 1970.

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