Dada: Zürich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris
National Gallery of Art in association with D.A.P./ Distributed Art Publishers, New York, 2005 - Art - 519 pages
Along with Russian constructivism and surrealism, Dada stands as one of the three most significant movements of the historical avant-garde. Born in the heart of Europe in the midst of World War I, Dada displayed a raucous skepticism about accepted values. Its embrace of new materials, of collage and assemblage techniques, of the designation of manufactured objects as art objects as well as its interest in performance, sound poetry, and manifestos fundamentally shaped the terms of modern art practice and created an abiding legacy for postwar art. Yet, while the word Dada has common currency, few know much about Dada art itself. In contrast to other key avant-garde movements, there has never been a major American exhibition that explores Dada specifically in broad view. "Dada"--the catalogue to the exhibition on view in 2006 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and The Museum of Modern Art in New York presents the hybrid forms of Dada art through an examination of city centers where Dada emerged: Zurich, Berlin, Cologne, Hannover, New York, and Paris. Covered here are works by some 40 artists made in the period from circa 1916, when the Cabaret Voltaire was founded in Zurich, to 1926, by which time most of the Dada groups had dispersed or significantly transformed. The city sections bring together painting, sculpture, photography, collage, photomontage, prints and graphic work.
Relying on dynamic design and vivid documentary images, "Dada" takes us through these six cities via topical essays and extensive plate sections; an illustrated chronology of the movement; witty chronicles of events in each city center; a selected bibliography; and biographies of eachartist--accompanied by Dada-era photographs.
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The top documented Schwitters' family life with the poignant death mask of his
infant son; it is surrounded by toys and a selection of organic materials, including
a twig and dried flowers; and a small picture frame that leans against the
46 The sculpture takes its name from a fifteenth-century saint, Heilige Kiimmernis
(St. Uncumber), the Christian daughter of a heathen king who, legend has it,
asked Christ that she be disfigured to avoid marriage to a heathen suitor.
The sound of my footsteps faded away and there was absolute silence.4' And in a
letter to Alfred Barr in 1936, Schwitters explained: [I by no means] construct an
interior for people to live in I am building an abstract (cubist) sculpture into which
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The disillusionment intellectuals experienced during World War I gave rise to Dada, one of the first artistic movements that questioned the fundamental assumptions forged during the Enlightenment ... Read full review