Dada was a cultural movement that originated in Switzerland during WWI and peaked from 1916-22. It was a reaction to the horrors of the war. It is characterized by a rejection of logic and reason, praise of nonsense, anarchy, intuition and irrationality. Dada is anti-war and anti-bourgeois – it’s a way of protest against capitalistic nationalism and colonialist interests which the Dadaists believed to be the causes for the war and against conformism that established itself in a war time society. Dada formed the foundation for Surrealism, influenced Pop Art, and was a prelude to post-modernism and a celebration of anti-art. Dada was in a way the Hulk of art history that was meant to lay waste on everything in its path since what had been had led to moral crisis and collective homicide.

While Dad in Europe was more or less political through and through, Dada in the USA was theoretical though it was also driven by war refugees like Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia. Together with the American Ray Man Duchamp and Picabia became the center of the radical anti-art movement. They didn’t issue a manifesto as it was popular in Dada, but challenged through their artistic output in which they criticized the traditional basis of museum art.

Art techniques developed in Dada: Collages, Photomontages, Assemblage, Readymades

Notable artists: Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Ray Man, Hans Richter, George Grosz, Tristan Tzara, Jean Arp, Otto Dix, Ernst Max, John Heartfield, Picasso, Andre Breton, Theo van Doesburg

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