Dada art period, Dada paintings, Dadaism, Dada artists and Dada history

Dada Movement

The Dada art movement reigned from about 1916 to 1920 mainly in the countries of France, Germany and Switzerland. The Dadaism movement was based on principles of anarchy, cynicism, and rejecting the laws of social organization and beauty. The Dadaists sought to discover reality by abolishing traditional culture and accepted aesthetic forms. The group protested against World War I, and bourgeois interests that they feel inspired the war. The nihilistic point of view was also prevalent within the Dadaist movement. The name ‘Dada’ was created for the movement when a group of young artists and war resisters (including Jean Arp, Richard Hulsenbeck, Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, and Emmy Hennings) stuck a paper knife into a French-German dictionary and found that it pointed to the word dada, the French word for ‘hobby horse’. Cabaret Voltaire was where the ideas of Dada were spawned and later the surrealists used it as their art forum. Cabaret Voltaire fell into desrepair after World War II but in 2002 a group of artists claiming to be ‘neo-Dadaists’ led by Mark Divo began to occupy Cabaret Voltaire. Over three months there were a variety of exhibitions and performances at the Cabaret including artists like Ingo Giezendammer, Mikry Drei, Lennie Lee, Leumund Cult, Aiana Calugar and Dan Jones. Eventually the occupants were evicted from the building which later reopened as a cabaret with programs, events, and exhibitions. The leading member of the Dada movement was Marcel Duchamp whose first piece of art for the movement, the ‘Bicycle Wheel” which was made up of a wheel mounted on the seat of a stool. The Dadaist movement was never very stable and eventually melded into surrealism by 1924. New ideas and art periods began emerging like socialist realism, and modernism which became popular with many of the Dadaist members. By World War II and Dada movement had almost completely dissipated as many of the European artists fled to the USA or died in Hitler’s death camps.

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