Topics: Dada, Anti-art, Marcel Duchamp Pages: 2 (570 words) Published: May 21, 2013
aDadaism was a cultural protest movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1916. It was conceived as a rebellion against traditional social values, especially reason and logic, which the Dadaists saw as being morally bankrupt and which had led the world into the destructiveness of World War I. Their answer was to embrace anarchy and the irrational. By seeking the destruction of a flawed value system, they believed they could build a new one guided by a more humane outlook. The movement began in 1916 when Hugo Ball recited the first Dadaist manifesto at the Café Voltaire in Zurich. They declared that they had lost confidence in culture and vowed to destroy the existing order and reconstruct it. The Dadaists embarked on their crusade by trying to shock the public by constructing offensive or outrageous works of art and literature. They expressed themselves with creations that were “anti-art”, meaning that they ignored aesthetics, had no underlying meaning, and sought to offend. In the peak years of the movement, 1916 to 1920, Dadaism spread throughout Europe, inspiring many periodicals that served as outlets for Dadaist views. The most influential Dadaist artist was the French sculptor Marcel Duchamp. He exhibited what he called ready-mades, or common objet that he would submit as works of art, such as bicycle wheels or a birdcage. His intent was to ridicule the idea that art had to convey some profound message. Duchamp’s most famous work was Fountain, a urinal. It was rejected by the art community when Duchamp first showed it in 1917. But it later became celebrated as a brilliant reflection of the Dadaist movement. In 2004, it won a British prize as “the most influential work of modern art”. New York hosted many Dadaists after World War I, including Duchamp, who joined a group that included the American artist Man Ray. Much of their work was photographed by the famous New York photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The New York branch of the movement, unlike the...
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