DADA Manifesto Explained – Hugo Ball Versus Tristan Tzara

As in every human endeavor when two strong personalities meet, opinions may clash and an argument often ensues. The same applies to the art world. Dada Manifesto is not a singular writing; over the years several were made, including perhaps the best-known by Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara. Ball wrote his manifesto in 1916, and […]

The Ultimate Outline of the 20th Century Art

There is no doubt that the 20th century art was all about changing perspective. The artist’s way of seeing and therefore understanding things has been changing and continues to do so even in this day and age. The new, experimental approach to perspective was pursued both directly and implicitly. Painters and sculptors had abandoned linear […]

More than Melting Clocks: 10 Surrealist Masterpieces You Need to Know

Among radical 20th century art movements (of which there are more than a few), Surrealism is one of the few that’s been able to establish a hold on the popular as well as avant-garde imaginary, in no small part due to the outlandish public persona of its self-proclaimed ringleader Salvador Dalí. What’s sometimes forgotten, however, […]

What Was Surrealism? Read the Real Story Behind the Enigmatic Art Movement

Despite its status as one of the most widely cited and recognizable art movements to come out of the early 20th century,Surrealism remains (perhaps appropriately) something of an enigma to contemporary art viewers. In some ways, it’s simply too strange—the paintings, sculptures, and writing that the loosely defined philosophy has produced appear to have little […]

100 Years On, Why Dada Still Matters

“How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying dada,” proclaimed the poet, musician, and theater producer Hugo Ball in the summer of 1916, as World War I raged on. “How does one become famous? By saying dada…How can one get rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, Europeanized, enervated? By […]

What Was Fluxus? A Brief Guide to the Irreverent, Groundbreaking Art Movement

Fluxus was a loose confederation of international artists in the 1960s working in performance, painting, sculpture, poetry, experimental music, and even correspondence art (art sent through the postal service). It was often, though not exclusively, political in tone. Fluxus works shared similarities with the “Happenings” of Allan Kaprow, particularly in the way they blurred distinctions […]

The false Gods of Dada: on Dada Presentism by Maria Stavrinaki

A new book on the movement draws lessons on the dangers of eclecticism. In the final chapter of the art historian Maria Stavrinaki’s new book, Dada Presentism, she imagines the origin of Dada as an immaculate conception. “Who, in fact, did invent Dada?” she asks. “Everyone and no one.” Amidst the devastation of the First […]

100 Years Ago Today, Dada Was Born at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich

100 years ago today, on February 5, 1916, the now-legendary Cabaret Voltaire—the artist hangout that gave birth to the Dada movement—was opened in Zurich. Dada—which advocated coincidence as a leading creative principle—deliberately contravened all known and traditional artistic styles at the time. It was championed by Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Richard Huelsenbeck, Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, […]

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Dada Master Marcel Duchamp

“I force myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste,” proclaimed Marcel Duchamp, Dada master and the man behind everyone’s favorite urinal. The phrase only begins to explain the versatile, zany and ever-evolving works of the French-American artist, famously known for “The Fountain,” his 1917 pièce de résistance that will go […]

Burritos in the Gallery? How Post-Everything Sculpture Works Today

2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the day Marcel Duchamp walked into the Society of Independent Artists lugging a porcelain urinal he had purchased at 5th Avenue’s J. L. Mott Iron Works and submitted it as a “readymade” sculpture. Duchamp’s radical and audacious gesture was met, at the time, with shock and indignation—it was literally hidden away behind a screen during the […]

The Existential Hilarity (or Hilarious Existentialism?) of Jonathan Monk

The artist Jonathan Monk makes work that casts an arch eye on art history, his fellow artists, and the transition of a work from the studio to the gallery to the collector’s wall or museum. In other words, his target is art and the entire artistic process, which he lampoons with wry humor and an unabashed use […]

Unlock art: A lesson in performance art – video

Crotchless trousers, baths of excrement, John Cage, Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic … in the first of a series of exclusive films with the Tate, in which stars give potted histories of art movements, Frank Skinner opens up the wild world of performance art.