chapter
Abstract Dadaism
WithAlfred H. Barr
Pages 7

Abstract Dadaism is a provisional name for the diverse kinds of Dada painting which approached or achieved abstraction. Dadaism itself was primarily a state of mind. It began in Zurich in 1916, partly as a literary movement, and developed strongholds during or after the War in New York, Cologne, Paris and Hanover with outposts in many other cities.

Dada 1 was born of scepticism, disillusion, cynicism, and nourished by war, peace and inflation. The Dadaists scoffed at all standards and traditions, both conservative and advanced. This program of contempt for art did not, however, prevent the Dadaist painters from appropriating and developing the ideas and techniques of pre-War movements of which in many cases they had been members.