cover image Dada Movement

Dada Movement

Rizzoli, Dachy, Marc Dachy. Rizzoli International Publications, $85 (230pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1110-6

Dada art was not a nihilistic negation of culture, contends French art historian Dachy. Rather, the movement's provocation and humor were an affirmation of new freedoms as dadaists liberated materials (object-sculptures, pasted papers), words (automatic writing), language (concrete poems, free prose, sound poems) and brought an anticonventional spirit to photography, filmmaking, typography, collage and book design. Dazzlingly illustrated with 120 color reproductions and some 200 black-and-white photographs, this sweeping chronicle follows Dada from its utopian phase when Tristan Tzara, Hans Arp and Francis Picabia espoused a constructive vision, through its rejection of the idea of progress and its turn to pure vocal and visual gestures as a way of deconstructing socially given behaviors, personas and ideas. Artists as far apart as Russia, New York, Holland, Spain and Germany carried forward the original Dada impulse that stunned Zurich in 1916. Serious students of Dada or surrealism will want this slipcased album. (Aug.)