Collection Online

Dada

New York and Western Europe, ca. 1915

One of the first large-scale movements to translate art into provocative action, Dada produced some of the most antibourgeois, antirational, anarchic, playful works to come out of the 20th century. It began in 1916 in Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, where expatriate artists, poets, and writers gathered in refuge from World War I. Dada started as an indictment of the bourgeois values responsible for the horrors of the war, and assumed many forms, including outrageous performances, festivals, readings, erotic mechanomorphic art, nonsensical chance-generated poetry, found objects, and political satire in photomontage. Over several years it developed in New York as well as many European cities—primarily Zurich, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, and Hannover—through the activities of such artists and writers as Jean Arp, Hugo Ball, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, Man Ray, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters, and Tristan Tzara.

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