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(dä`dä) or


(dä`däĭzəm), international nihilistic movement among European artists and writers that lasted from 1916 to 1922. Born of the widespread disillusionment engendered by World War I, it originated in Zürich with a 1916 party at the Cabaret Voltaire and the recitation of nonsense poetry by the Romanian Tristan TzaraTzara, Tristan
, 1896–1963, French writer, b. Romania. He studied at the Univ. of Zürich, where he and his friends formulated the dadaist movement initially as a pacifist statement (see Dada).
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, also the author of the Dada Manifesto. Dada attacked conventional standards of aesthetics and behavior and stressed absurdity and the role of the unpredictable in artistic creation. In Berlin, Dada had political overtones, exemplified by the caricatures of George GroszGrosz, George
, 1893–1959, German-American caricaturist, draughtsman, and painter, b. Berlin. Before and during World War I he contributed drawings on proletarian themes to Illustration and other German periodicals. He was associated with the Dada group at that time.
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 and Otto DixDix, Otto,
1891–1969, German painter and draftsman. Dix fought in World War I and returned to Düsseldorf haunted by the horrors he had witnessed. In 1924 he published War, a series of 50 etchings, horrifying visions of war's victims executed with great clarity.
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. The French movement was more literary in emphasis; it centered around Tzara, André BretonBreton, André
, 1896–1966, French writer, founder and theorist of the surrealist movement. He studied neuropsychology and was one of the first in France to publicize the work of Freud.
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, Louis AragonAragon, Louis
, 1897–1982, French writer. One of the founders of surrealism in literature, Aragon abandoned that philosophy for Marxism after a trip to the USSR in 1931.
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, Jean ArpArp, Jean or Hans,
1887–1966, French sculptor and painter. Arp was connected with the Blaue Reiter in Munich, various avant-garde groups in Paris, including the surrealists, and the Dadaists in Zürich.
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, Marcel DuchampDuchamp, Marcel
, 1887–1968, French painter, brother of Raymond Duchamp-Villon and half-brother of Jacques Villon. Duchamp is noted for his cubist-futurist painting Nude Descending a Staircase,
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, Francis PicabiaPicabia, Francis
, 1878–1953, French painter. After working in an impressionist style, Picabia was influenced by cubism and later was one of the original exponents of Dada in Europe and the United States.
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, and Man RayRay, Man,
1890–1976, American photographer, painter, and sculptor, b. Philadelphia. Along with Marcel Duchamp, Ray was a founder of the Dada movement in New York and Paris. He is celebrated for his later surrealist paintings and photography.
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. The latter three carried the spirit of Dada to New York City. Typical were the elegant collages devised by Arp, Kurt SchwittersSchwitters, Kurt
, 1887–1948, German artist, b. Hannover. Influenced by Kandinsky, by Picasso's reliefs, and by Dada constructions, he invented Merz [trash] constructions—arrangements of diverse materials and objects.
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, and Max ErnstErnst, Max
1891–1976, German painter. After World War I, Ernst joined the Dada movement in Paris and then became a founder of surrealism. Apart from the medium of collage, for which he is well known, Ernst developed other devices to express his fantastic vision.
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 from refuse and scraps of paper, and Duchamp's celebrated Mona Lisa adorned with a mustache and a goatee as well as his Fountain (1917), a urinal signed "R. Mutt." Dada principles were eventually modified to become the basis of surrealismsurrealism
, literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention.
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 in 1924. The literary manifestations of Dada were mostly nonsense poems—meaningless random combinations of words—which were read in public.


See R. Short, Dada and Surrealism (1980); S. C. Foster, ed., Dada-Dimensions (1985); H. Richter, Dada: Art and Anti-Art (1985); R. Motherwell, ed., The Dada Painters and Poets (1951, 2d ed. 1989); A. Codrescu, The Posthuman Dada Guide (2009); J. Rasula, Destruction Was My Beatrice (2015).


, Dadaism
a nihilistic artistic movement of the early 20th century in W Europe and the US, founded on principles of irrationality, incongruity, and irreverence towards accepted aesthetic criteria
References in periodicals archive ?
The first Dadaists may have stirred the establishment right here more than a century ago; Dada's current heirs can lean on the laurels of their ancestors.
Many claim that Breton's publication in 1924 of the Surrealist Manifesto--the result of his anxieties--marks the end of the movement, yet he clearly did not represent all Dadaists.
As a self-proclaimed anarchist, Felsenstein sees his plans to destroy the library as a kind of dadaist masterpiece, making terrorism an artistic act once he frees it from the chains of politics and purpose.
Adult Swim's'' oddball quintet of ``Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law,'' ``Sealab 2021,'' ``The Brak Show,'' ``Aqua Teen Hunger Force'' and venerable veteran ``Space Ghost Coast to Coast'' (Cartoon Network): These infinitely weird, unspeakably hilarious shorts, which deconstruct mediocre '60s and '70s Saturday-morning cartoons in a fashion that artfully straddles the fence between affection and virulence, may be the only place true echoes of the Dadaist movement exist on TV.
William Walton was only 19 when he created this precociously witty 'entertainment' for reciters and ensemble, drawing extra levels of allusion and imagery from the almost dadaist, subliminal verses of Edith Sitwell.
Bausch's collage style of dance (where everything, choreography and drama, is strictly linear with an underlying theme), has never much varied from its Dadaist, highbrow, vaudeville principles of cheap shock and easy mockery.
Although Vic and Bob's humour is Dadaist in its absurdity, anarchic in its subversiveness of comic forms it still retains an internal logic and, yes, formula all its own.
Even the protracted nature of the pre-game show is part of the dadaist joke it plays on Bowl hype.
Imagine, if you can, a comic philosophical treatise composed by an utterly serious dadaist.
Put off by the pretensions of high art and marked by dadaist inclinations, Fluxus aspired to works so humbly embodied, or so sophomorically droll, as to test and, in that sense, expand the very boundaries of what could even pass for art at all.
Witty, inventive, brilliant, this Dadaist mix of dance, video, and cheek smashes at the mind and I found myself cheerfully wishing it to go on forever.
He eventually developed about 20 minutes of new material, including the perfectly Dadaist line, ``The one thing I respect about Hitler is that he never took any (word used recently on ``Chicago Hope'') from magicians.