Dada Essay, Research Paper
“What the heck is dada?” I’m sure many people ask when they see or hear the word dada. In french the word means “hobbyhorse”. In a couple European languages, separated, the word means “yes, yes”. No one really agrees on how the name came about. Even the creator of this anti-trend, Romanian born, Tristan Tzara. Dada was not just a visual art form; there were a whole bunch of art forms that fit in to this genre.
What Dada was, was a very similar scene to the Seattle scene of the late eighties through the early nineties, and the punk rock scene in London and NYC. These all were anti establishment, anti-mainstream forms of art (many people forget about all of the other forms of art created with these bursts of energy), but neither had the impact of creating a whole new visual art such as surrealism and impressionism. These scenes also didn’t show up in many places at once.
One other thing that differed between the two major underground scenes and Dada is that neither of them was intended to “ruffle some feathers”. These music scenes grew large because the musicians hated what the mainstream was like and wanted to make music they could enjoy. Often grungy and dirty sounding, these bands had something, sort of, in common with dada, they made many people upset. One dada artist, Marcel Duchamp even painted a urinal. Some artists just did collages, whole another would paint on a plank of wood. While the world’s popular artists were painting flowers and women, Dadaists were painting, to the untrained eye, what looks like paintbrush gibberish, usually with a word jumble thrown in. Some Dadaists became a little unnerved to find that people were coming to like the dada arts.
The believed beginning to dada was in Zurich, 1915, in a club called “Cabaret Voltaire”. As a result of WWI, many emigrants met up there in Zurich. The main Dadaists known were Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings from Munchen, and Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco from Rumania. Also part of their group was a few from throughout Germany. The scene in New York also was said to begin in 1915. Two artists likely the more popular of the New York scene were Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Francis Picabia. Berlin’s artists seemed to specialize in the anti-art, photomontages. These were collages of words, letters, and pictures. These collages were the model for much punk rock record covers, and now you see them as girls’ book covers in school. Other popular forms that aroused from Berlin were manifestos and anti-bourgeois caricature type paintings. Two other spots of the Dadaist revolt were in Hannover, Germany and in Koln, but both were for the most part, one-man shows. Paris, France was the last big dada hot spot. The scene there lasted from about1919 until, roughly, 1922. Collaboration between Andre Breton and Philipe Soupault resulted in experimentations on a new art form based on the subconscious, known as surrealism.
Dada was not an art- it was the anti-art. Dada was a result of great minds coming together. The result of their product was a whole new genre in pop-culture. The feeling of “anti-ness” passed away in, approximately, 1923. The feeling, and style have been resurrected several times, but not quite as powerfully as the original dada.