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What is DaDa?
Here's what some of the artists themselves said:
- "DaDa is beautiful like the night, who cradles the young day in her arms." - Hans Arp
- "DADA speaks with you, it is everything, it envelops everything, it belongs to every religion, can be neither victory or defeat, it lives in space and not in time." - Francis Picabia
- "Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police." - Richard Huelsenbeck
Here's a definition of DaDaism:
Dada or Dadaism [French, from dada, child's word for a
horse] Nihilistic movement in the arts that flourished chiefly in France,
Switzerland, and Germany from about 1916 to about 1920 [and later -ed.] and
that was based on the principles of deliberate irrationality, anarchy, and
cynicism and the rejection of laws of beauty and social organization.
The most widely accepted account of the movement's naming concerns a meeting
held in 1916 at Hugo Ball's Cabaret (Café) Voltaire in Zürich,
during which a paper knife inserted into a French-German dictionary pointed
to the word dada; this word was seized upon by the group as appropriate
for their anti-aesthetic creations and protest activities, which were
engendered by disgust for bourgeois values and despair over World War I.
In the United States the movement was centered in New York at Alfred
Stieglitz's gallery, "291," and at the studio of the Walter Arensbergs.
Dada-like activities, arising independently but paralleling those in
Zürich, were engaged in by such chiefly visual artists as Man Ray and
Francis Picabia. Both through their art and through such publications as
The Blind Man, Rongwrong, and New York Dada, the artists
attempted to demolish current aesthetic standards. Traveling between the
United States and Europe, Picabia became a link between the Dada groups in
New York City, Zürich, and Paris; his Dada periodical, 291, was
published in Barcelona, New York City, Zürich, and Paris from 1917
In 1917 the Dada movement was transmitted to Berlin, where it took on a more
political character. The Berlin artists, too, issued Dada publications:
Club Dada, Der Dada, Jedermann sein eigner Fussball
("Everyman His Own Football"), and Dada Almanach.
In Paris Dada took on a literary emphasis under one of its founders, the poet
Tristan Tzara. Most notable among Dada pamphlets and reviews was
Littérature (published 1919-24), which contained writings by
André Breton, Louis Aragon, Philippe Soupault, and Paul Éluard.
After 1922, however, Dada faded and many Dadaists grew interested in
Quoted from Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
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