Dada

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A History of Graphic Design The Influence of Modern Art - Dada

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13-22 Dada, 1917-1921/22 Dada was born in protest to WWI. The Dada movement was reacting against a world gone mad. They rebelled against the horrors of WWI, the shallowness of blind faith in technological progress and the inadequacy of religion and conventional moral codes. Dada was making statements against the meaningless of all past art. They claimed to be anti-art. They wanted freedom from the museums and formal traditions. The Dada movement had strong negative and destructive elements. The origin of the name “Dada” has some controversy. Some say it is meaningless like the babble of babies; another theory refers to a story of an artist randomly opening a dictionary and pointing to a word – Dada, a German word for hobby horse.

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13-22 13-22 As anti-art practitioners, the Dadaists used shock, protest, nonsense and chance in their works. Hugo Ball was a driving force in the movement. As a poet he wrote many nonsense and chance poems. The Dadaists desired to replace man’s logic with an illogical nonsense. Chance placements and absurd titles characterized their work. Dada, 1917-1921/22 This famous Dada poem, Karawane, by Hugo Ball in 1917 is an example of sound and sight poems. The use of different fonts and weights would represent different sounds, similar to what the Futurists started. Try reading this poem out loud yourself.

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13-22 13-24 Marchel Duchamp, The Fountain Photographed by the famous Alfred Stieglitz This very famous Dada work by Marchel Duchamp titled The Fountain, 1917, was a pivotal piece that the Dadaists felt captured the heart of their ideals. Duchamp was asked to complete a painting for a museum exhibit (remember Nude Descending a Staircase was his work). He waited until the very last moment and installed this urinal that he pulled from a restroom and scribbled the words “Mutt 1917” on. As people entered the museum, they were shocked and disgusted to see this presented as a work of art. This created the sensation the Dadaist were striving for and they congratulated Duchamp. “When an object is taken out of context, we suddenly see it with fresh eyes and respond to its intrinsic visual properties.” Dada, 1917-1921/22

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13-22 Bicycle Wheel, Duchamp, 1912 Dada The Fountain and this piece just called Bicycle Wheel, represent a new fashion of art called Ready-Mades. A Ready-Made was from found objects that the Dadaists used in constructions to present them in different contexts. This Bicycle Wheel is possibly referring to the government. A spoof on activity – the wheel could spin easily, but it goes nowhere and ends where it starts.

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13-22 Dada The Dada movement was also a self-aware movement, though it was not trying to create a new style, but to abolish traditional assumptions about art. Dada was more a state of mind than an art movement – to revitalize the visual arts by breaking all the rules. Dadaists did not care to be understood. They felt they were living in an incomprehensible world bound for destruction. Marcel Duchamp: “Dada was a way to get out of a state of mind, to get away from clichés – to get free.”

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13-26 13-26 Hannah Höch, Da—dandy, 1919 Dada Dada artists claim to have invented the Photomontage. A Photomontage uses recycled images and materials with both chance juxtapositions and planned decisions contributing to the creative process. Other artists before Dada had used pieces of newspaper and magazine prints in their paintings, but none constructed entire pieces from these found items alone. Previously there hadn’t been much ready printed materials available, but with the explosion of fashion magazines at the turn of the century there was now more materials to work with. The Photomontage created a new unity from totally different elements. They explored the elements of chance as the ultimate removal of the hand of the artist. They abhorred contrived art.

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13-41 Dada Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q. 1919. As if the addition of mustache and beard weren't enough of a poke at this most famous of paintings, the letters Duchamp penciled — L.H.O.O.Q. — at the bottom of his altered image are meaningless in themselves, but when read aloud in French, make the sound of "Elle a chaud au cul," meaning, "She has a hot ass." The Dadaist were also known to de-face famous artwork just for the reaction. None is as shocking as Marcel Duchamp’s treatment of the Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa, Leonardo De Vinci, 1503-6 L.H.O.O.Q., Marcel Duchamp, 1919

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13-41 Dada Man Ray, Le violin de Ingres 1924. Photographers had been retouching photos ever since Niépce and Daguerre invented the medium in the early 1800s. Indeed, an early test of the “art” in photography was evidence of the photo-maker’s hand in the print. It was understood to be a sleight of hand, known to discerning connoisseurs but not to the public at large. What was astounding and revolutionary about Man Ray’s work was the obvious irony of his manipulation.

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One Dada concert had no musicians and no sound. The audience grew restless and the sound of shifting bodies, wrappers, climaxed with the outraged cry of some audience members storming out at the lack of a show. The Dadaists thought it was a great success.

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13-37 13-37 Note the use of bomb shells used to create this Cathedral Dada Dada influenced graphic designers in 3 important areas: Helped to free typography from its rectilinear restrictions Reinforce the Cubist ideas of letterform as a visual experience Taught designers how shock and surprise can perform significant role in overcoming a viewers apathy Dadaism eventually imploded. The artists one-up-manship of each other had them go so far in their anti-art themes, they had nowhere to go but back to making some kind of sense. Dada faded into Surrealism in the early 1920s.

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13-41 Dada revival The 1970s musical group called “Devo” was a Dada reaction against the Vietnam war (1959-1975). The Devo band members had been hippies, of a sort. Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, the group’s conceptual core, were among the anti-war students protesting at Kent State University, Ohio, on 4 May 1970 when the National Guard opened fire.

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