Art as a Political Statement

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Art As a Political Statement
The Futurists and Dada Movements
Erin White

I want to start out this paper by saying that this has been the most difficult paper I’ve ever had to write. Politics do not interest me, and this may be because I’m a romantic artist who prefers to turn away from the violence of wars, or the bickering between government leaders. I would rather just live and experience life, as opposed to dwelling on all that is wrong with the world. I know in my heart that by avoiding politics, I’m putting myself in a bad place, and I do not know much about what is going on in the world around me. I have a really hard time listening to the news, and seeing all the tragedies, while at the same time dealing with my own personal issues, and coping with life in my own world. Sometimes it’s just too much to handle, and so I just ignore it.

 While studying modern art, there are two art movements whose existence revolved around politics and more specifically, war. Futurism and Dada simply define what it’s like to really delve into the world of war. These two groups of artists believed in moving far away from the past, and towards a perfect future. They both were considered strongly opposed to normal government views, and were in their own way anarchists. They used art as a means of speaking their mind about their political views, and wanted to reach a wide audience by doing so. Their works were more of a statement of who they were, and their stand on government issues, instead of other art movements of the same time period whose works emphasized expressions of human emotion. The fabric that made these two groups who they were, were based on how strongly they felt towards the ideas of war, and the outcomes from them.

There may be a lot of similarities between these two extreme art movements, but more importantly, their overall views were completely opposite of each other. Futurists believed in war, as a means of “cleansing the world of all its past”, and moving quickly towards the future, and never looking back. Their way, was to burn down and destroy all libraries, museums, and any place that would endorse keeping around these “mausoleums” that glorified all that was wrong with society. They believed that it would be almost impossible to move on in the world and change, if the past was still in existence. They strived for a perfect future, where everything was constantly changing, was always new, and was advancing at an enormous rate. Their love of motion and machines was usually pictured in their actual works of art. They tried to create the most unusual and new forms of art possible, and staying away from anything that was ever done before. All classical forms of art were shunned, and a vision of pure uniqueness helped to mold them into strong individuals. 
Their politics were evident in most of their works, especially Gino Severini’s “Armored Train in Action”. He adopted a newer form of cubism to reenact an image of firing guns on a moving train. He painted images as he saw them out his high-rise apartment, and added to it motion, action, and ultimately, a step away from the old of society. You can see from this work that he supported war, because the way the colors and tones are produced, it’s light, airy, and looks as thought it’s being glorified. 
As the Futurists supported war, the Dadaists condemned it. They believed that war was a result of “rational and logical thinking” therefore reasoning was a bad thing. The affects of war had such a huge impact on the Dadaists that one might think it made them crazy. They were considered “anarchists of art”, and especially anarchists through their thoughts concerning government. 

It is an art movement that is hard to define because “there isn’t a defining style”. The only thing that links the Dadaists together is the overall meaning behind their chaotic works. They believed in pure chance, and letting the randomness of the world take over. They translated these...
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