Scheidegger and Spiess/ Kunsthaus Zürich, 160 pp., $59.00 (distributed in the US by University of Chicago Press)
The group, which became known as Dadaists, consisted of three Germans (Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck, Emmy Hennings), one Alsatian (Hans Arp), two Romanians (Marcel Janco and Tristan Tzara), and the Swiss Sophie Taeuber. They were soon joined by Walter Serner, an Austrian born in Bohemia. The youngest, Tzara, was twenty; Hennings was the oldest at thirty-one. All were united in their loathing of the war.
In spite of many statements to the contrary, most Dadaists seem to have wanted to create a new art that would have nothing to do with former styles and notions. In order to find it, they absorbed or invented many new means of expression: abstraction; photomontage; collage; assemblage; frottage; typography; glossolalia; phonetic, concrete, visual, and simultaneous poetry; conceptual art; the readymade; the drawing and painting of invented machines; happenings; performance art; and kinetic art, including film. No less crucial was the inspiration that came from African artifacts, from the art of the insane, and the drawings of children—an inspiration that proved fundamental to many visual artists of the twentieth century. There was an overwhelming need for the wild, the simple, and the unreflective. / Alfred Brendel, The New York Review of Books
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