Dada and Surrealism

Dada, a wartime movement, founded in the midst of an international slaughter of young men, led by a deluded and incompetent class of elites.  Although the Dada artists advertised themselves as being “anti-art,” the exiles in Zurich were against traditional art and its ideals.  Far from being opposed to the basic idea of art, the Dada artists strove to find new ways to make new art in new ways.

The movement had spokespersons but no one took a position of guidance.  Aside from philosophy, Dada artists scattered across Europe after the Great War ended.  None of the many centers of Dada had a leader and Dada, perhaps as a result, dissolved in a few years into other movements.  

Surrealism had a leader, a “Pope,” André Breton.  It was possible for Surrealism to be led simply because the group was self-contained in Paris.  Breton was somewhat iron-fisted for a leader of an avant-garde movement, expelling members who displeased him, but he held the group together for twenty years.

Well-known art includes:

Étant donnés

The Son of Man

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