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Stacy Warner Maddern


Coinciding with the outbreak of World War I, Dada was originally perceived as a protest against bourgeois nationalism and colonialism in Europe and North America. Dadaists accused the interests of these groups of fueling the war through their influence on cultural and intellectual conformity. Dada, in its essence, was a form of artistic expression that sought to exist outside of those barriers. As artists, Dadaists sought to reject reason and logic and embrace irrationality and chaos. This was in direct protest to the natural order of capitalist societies which they considered representative of bourgeois culture and repression. In French, Dada is a child's phrase that means “hobby-horse” and was adopted because of its more common usage in French nomenclature to mean “it's my hobby.” The precursor of the movement was a 1913 creation by Marcel Duchamp known as the “Bicycle Wheel,” consisting of a wheel mounted on the seat of a stool. By 1915, Duchamp was impacting artistic circles with his conception of “ready-mades,” found objects that he presented as art, the most known of which was a urinal that he called The Fountain. Duchamp's “ready-mades” offered the least amount of interaction between artist and art, an extreme form of minimalism in artistic expression. In the early twentieth century the movement flourished primarily in Zurich, New York City, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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