Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dada: The Revolt of Art / by Marc Dachy

Nothing in the art community previously could prepare people for Dada, a movement beginning in Zurich in 1916. A meld of abstract art and avant-garde, Dadaists were the edgiest of the full-fledged anti-establishment artists, breaking all the rules, keeping none of the past traditions alive, rebelling against any type of "isms" and broadening the scope of what art could be. This new generation of visionaries were certainly not aiming to please the critics. 20 years later Adolf Hitler used Dada to point out what high art was not, using an exhibition of Dada pieces in sort-of derisive motif. So what was it exactly? The movement can best be described as "direct relationship between an artist and his art--as opposed to the art that until then had been imposed by social constraints." Figures like Hugo Ball, Jean Arp, Sophie Tauber and Marcel Duchamp essentially reconfigured artwork that removed the medium. Dada wasn't purely painting; it wasn't sculpture. And while you could call many of the pieces a collage, an amalgamation, it wasn't purely dimensional, necessarily, in any respect. Even as it maintained its integrity by conceptually representing an artist's inception of ideas, it did so by remaining void of popular styles. Dachy's little book, part of a larger series of humanities publications, is filled with Dada creations as well as the story behind it. Best of all, it manages to concentrate the material inside a very manageable, easy-to-get-through volume of artistic concepts. (709.04 DACHY)

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