Dada… Was it a movement? Was is considered art?
Dada • Dadawas, officially, not a movement, its artists not artists and its art not art.That sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Of course, there is a bit more to the story of Dadaism than this simplistic explanation. • Dada was a literary and artistic movement born in Europe at a time when the horror of World War I was being played out in what amounted to citizens' front yards. Due to the war, a number of artists, writers and intellectuals - notably of French and German nationality - found themselves congregating in the refuge that Zurich (in neutral Switzerland) offered.
Dada • Far from merely feeling relief at their respective escapes, this bunch was pretty ticked off that modern European society would allow the war to have happened. They were so angry, in fact, that they undertook the time-honored artistic tradition of protesting.
Dada • Banding together in a loosely-knit group, these writers and artists used any public forum they could find to (metaphorically) spit on nationalism, rationalism, materialism and any other -ism which they felt had contributed to a senseless war. In other words, the Dadaists were fed up. If society is going in this direction, they said, we'll have no part of it or its traditions. Including...no, wait!...especially artistic traditions. We, who are non-artists, will create non-art - since art (and everything else in the world) has no meaning, anyway.
Dada • About the only thing these non-artists all had in common were their ideals. They even had a hard time agreeing on a name for their project. "Dada" - which some say means "hobby horse" in French and others feel is just baby talk - was the catch-phrase that made the least amount of sense, so "Dada" it was.
Dada • Using an early form of Shock Art, the Dadaists thrust mild obscenities, scatological humor, visual puns and everyday objects (renamed as "art") into the public eye. Marcel Duchamp performed the most notable outrages by painting a mustache on a copy of the Mona Lisa (and scribbling an obscenity beneath) and proudly displaying his sculpture entitled Fountain (which was actually a urinal, sans plumbing, to which he added a fake signature).
Dada • The public, of course, was revulsed - which the Dadaists found wildly encouraging. Enthusiasm being contagious, the (non)movement spread from Zurich to other parts of Europe and New York City. And just as mainstream artists were giving it serious consideration, in the early 1920s, Dada (true to form) dissolved itself.
Dada • In an interesting twist, this art of protest - based on a serious underlying principle - is delightful. The nonsense factor rings true. Dada art is whimsical, colorful, wittily sarcastic and, at times, downright silly.
What are the key characteristics of Dada art? • Dada began in Zurich and became an international movement. Or non-movement, as it were. • Dada had only one rule: Never follow any known rules. • Dada was intended to provoke an emotional reaction from the viewer (typically shock or outrage). If its art failed to offend traditionalists, Dada writing - particularly Tristan Tzara's manifestoes - proved a fine, nose-thumbing Plan B.
What are the key characteristics of Dada art? • Dada art is nonsensical to the point of whimsy. Almost all of the people who created it were ferociously serious, though. • Abstraction and Expressionism were the main influences on Dada, followed by Cubism and, to a lesser extent, Futurism.
What are the key characteristics of Dada art? • There was no predominant medium in Dadaist art. All things from geometric tapestries to glass to plaster and wooden reliefs were fair game. It's worth noting, though, that assemblage, collage, photomontage and the use of ready made objects all gained wide acceptance due to their use in Dada art.
What are the key characteristics of Dada art? • For something that supposedly meant nothing, Dada certainly created a lot of offshoots. In addition to spawning numerous literary journals, Dada influenced many concurrent trends in the visual arts (especially in the case of Constructivism). The best-known movement Dada was directly responsible for is Surrealism. • Dada self-destructed when it was in danger of becoming "acceptable".
Marcel Duchamp • A man of great humor and wit, Duchamp loved nothing more than jokes, puns and challenging others to think beyond conventional wisdom. He is best known for introducing the ready-made (or "found") object into visual art, co-founding Dada and being affiliated with the Surrealists. Perhaps his greatest contribution, though, is that he almost singlehandedly shifted the focus of art away from the strictly visual and onto the mental. Duchamp's enormous impact on Contemporary Art cannot be overstated.
Bicycle Wheel 1951third version after lost original 1913 Bicycle Wheel is a readymade by Marcel Duchamp consisting of a bicycle fork with front wheel mounted upside-down on a wooden stool.
Bicycle Wheel • In 1913 at his Paris studio he mounted the bicycle wheel upside down onto a stool, spinning it occasionally just to watch it. Later he denied that its creation was purposeful, though it has come to be known as the first of his readymades. "I enjoyed looking at it," he said. "Just as I enjoy looking at the flames dancing in the fireplace." It was not until he began making readymades a few years later in New York that he decided Bicycle Wheel was a readymade.
Bicycle Wheel • The original from 1913 was lost, and Duchamp recreated the sculpture in 1951. • Bicycle Wheel is said to be the first kinetic sculpture.
The Readymades of Marcel Duchamp • The readymades of Marcel Duchamp are ordinary manufactured objects that he selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art". By simply choosing the object (or objects) and repositioning or joining, and tilting and signing it, the object became art. It was the least amount of interaction between artist and art, and the most extreme form of minimalism that had yet been seen at the time.
The Readymades ofMarcel Duchamp • Duchamp was unable to define or explain his opinion of readymades: "The curious thing about the readymade is that I've never been able to arrive at a definition or explanation that fully satisfies me."
The Readymades of Marcel Duchamp • Duchamp was not interested in what he called "retinal art" — art that was only visual — and sought other methods of expression. As an antidote to "retinal art" he began creating readymades at a time (1915) when the term was commonly used in the United States to describe manufactured items to distinguish them from handmade goods.
The Readymades ofMarcel Duchamp • He selected the pieces on the basis of "visual indifference", and the selections reflect his sense of irony, humor and ambiguity. • "...it was always the idea that came first, not the visual example," he said; "...a form of denying the possibility of defining art."
The Readymades of Marcel Duchamp • The only definition of "readymade"published under the name of Marcel Duchamp ("MD" to be precise) says in André Breton and Paul Éluard'sDictionnaireabrégé du Surréalisme: "an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist." However, asserts that Breton wrote the definition for the Surrealist dictionary.
The ReadymadesofMarcel Duchamp • Duchamp limited his yearly output of readymades and made no more than 20 in his lifetime. He felt that only by limiting output, could he avoid the trap of his own taste. Though he was aware of the contradiction of avoiding taste, yet also selecting an object. Taste, "good" or "bad", he felt was the "enemy of art."
The Readymades of Marcel Duchamp • Through the years his own concept of the readymades kept changing. "My intention was to get away from myself, though I knew perfectly well that I was using myself. Call it a little game between 'I' and 'me'." • Much later in life Duchamp said, "I'm not at all sure that the concept of the readymade isn't the most important single idea to come out of my work."
The Readymades of Marcel Duchamp • By submitting some of them as art to art juries, the public, and his patrons, he challenged conventional notions of what is, and what is not, art. Some were rejected by art juries and others went unnoticed at art shows. • Most of his early readymades have been lost or discarded, but years later he commissioned reproductions of many of them.
Fountain • Duchamp’s most notorious readymade was a manufactured urinal entitled Fountain. Conceived for a show promoting avant-garde art, Fountain took advantage of the show’s lack of juried panels, which invariably excluded forward-looking artists.
Fountain • Under a pseudonym, “R. Mutt,” Duchamp submitted Fountain. It was a prank, meant to taunt his avant-garde peers. For some of the show’s organizers this was too much — was the artist equating modern art with a toilet fixture? — and Fountain was “misplaced” for the duration of the exhibition. It disappeared soon thereafter.
As surely as it was a prank, Fountain was also, like the other readymades, a calculated attack on the most basic conventions of art. To the charge that Fountain was mere plagiarism, “a plain piece of plumbing,” he replied “Whether Mr. Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view — created a new thought for that object.”
At the time, almost nobody understood what Duchamp was talking about. But fifty years later everyday objects would be commonplace in art.
Mile of String • “Duchamp bought 16 miles of string, of which only one mile was used, to prepare an entanglement in which the visitor experienced difficulties in finding his way to the paintings, a metaphor for the difficulties which the layman often encounters in the attempt to understand modern painting"
'Marcel Duchamp Cast Alive' 1967 Duchamp often stated that “art should be more like chess, which is "completely in one's gray matter”
Primary responses to L.H.O.O.Q. interpreted its meaning as being an attack on the iconic Mona Lisa and traditional art, thus promoting the Dadaist ideals. Perhaps Duchamp decided to use his ready-mades to not only critique established art conventions, but to also force the audience to put aside what they had thought before and look at something with a completely different perspective. By making the gender of the Mona Lisa ambiguous, Duchamp claimed to present his audience with a new perspective at a classic work of art.
Is it ART? • Each student needs to develop 10 points for and against this statement. • You will be put into to groups—each group will be required to write one affirmative argument and one negative argument—these arguments need to be thorough!!!