Growing charm of Dada

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

EXHIBITIONS AND CATALOGS DISCUSSED IN THIS ARTICLE

Dadaglobe Reconstructed

an exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich, February 5–May 1, 2016; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, June 12–September 18, 2016
Catalog of the exhibition by Adrian Sudhalter and others
Scheidegger and Spiess/ Kunsthaus Zürich, 160 pp., $59.00 (distributed in the US by University of Chicago Press)

Dada Universal

an exhibition at the National Museum Zurich, February 5–March 28, 2016

Kurt Schwitters: Merz

an exhibition at the Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, June 12–September 30, 2016
Catalog of the exhibition edited by Krystyna Gmurzynska and Mathias Rastorfer
Galerie Gmurzynska, 174 pp., CHF60.00

Dada Africa: Dialogue with the Other

an exhibition at the Museum Rietberg Zürich, March 18–July 17, 2016; and the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, August 5–November 7, 2016
Catalog of the exhibition edited by Ralf Burmeister, Michaela Oberhofer, and Esther Tisa Francini
Museum Rietberg Zürich/Berlinische Galerie/Scheidegger and Spiess, 243 pp., $40.00 (distributed in the US by University of Chicago Press)

Genesis Dada: 100 Years of Dada Zurich

an exhibition at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Germany, February 14–July 10, 2016
Catalog of the exhibition edited by Astrid von Asten, Sylvie Kyeck, and Adrian Notz
Scheidegger and Spiess, 247 pp., $45.00 (distributed in the US by University of Chicago Press)

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