Crisis and the Arts: The History of Dada Series

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  • During World War I, an international group of young artists and writers fled to Zurich, in neutral Switzerland. In reaction to the horror of the war and the onslaught of new technology, as well as to the suffocating aesthetics of futurism and cubism, these artists began to create a king of art-art that was antilogical, anti-aesthetic, anarchistic, confrontational, shocking. Performing and exhibiting at the famous Cabaret Voltaire, these artists called the new art "Dada." Dada soon exploded on the scene in other art capitals of the world: Berlin, Cologne, Hanover, Paris, even New York. Participants in the Dada movement included some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Jean Arp, Sophie Taeuber Arp, Hans Richter, George Grosz, Max Ernst, Kurt Schwitters, Hanna Hoch, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Raoul Hausmann, Marcel Duchamp and others alarmed critics and incited outrage by throwing into question every possible preconceived notion about art and life. The Dada Movement offered one of the first, most systematic and perhaps most probing diagnoses of what has been described as the "crisis of modernism." The model for critique found in Dada art, theater and literature continues to influence the present profoundly. Each volume of CRISIS AND THE ARTS: THE HISTORY OF DADA, under the general editorship of art historian Stephen C. Foster contributes to an examination of the Dada movement unprecedented in its depth and scope. This series features ten volumes that provide an introduction to the movement, a series of historical studies arranged geographically, a history of the movement’s reception and an extensive bibliography.