Good Example OF Essay On Cubism And Dadaism

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Art, Dadaism, Surrealism, World, Artists, War, Dada, Reality

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/09/15

Two art movements gained considerable prominence at the beginning of the 20th century. Painters such as Pablo Picasso and Tristan Tzara were at the vanguard of cubism and Dadaism, respectively. Cubism and Dadaism can be viewed from both an aesthetic and historical context, and Dadaism was modern art's response to the cubist movement.
Inspired largely by the work of Paul Cezanne, cubism breaks down three-dimensional objects, and represents them geometrically on a single plane. Furthermore, cubism stresses the representation of multiple viewpoints. Historically, the cubist movement is extremely important because it rejected the practice -- as in realism -- of representing an object from a singular viewpoint, defying several centuries of accepted artistic methods. Cubism also incorporated outside influences, ranging from the world of theoretical physics to African art (cubism, internet). Cubism is usually divided into two phases -- the Analytic Phase (1907-1912), and the so-called Synthetic phase (1913 through the 1920s). The Analytic phase attempted to represent objects in reality as the mind -- as opposed to the eye -- perceives them, while the Synthetic phase utilized much simpler forms, and was more colorful (cubism, internet).
Dadaism evolved as a direct protest of the values engendered during the period of World War I, and shortly afterward -- from about 1916 to 1923. While Dadaism did not stress any specific style over another, its dominant aspects were an-almost complete rejection of traditional types of representational art. Dadaists focused on group collaboration, spontaneity, photomontage, as well as found-object construction. As a result, painting and sculpture were often overlooked. As the story goes, the word "dada" was coined rather spontaneously in 1916, when Hugo Ball and a group of war resisters and artists convened in Zurich, Switzerland. The word was adopted when one of the members ran a knife through a French-German dictionary, and it cut through "dada", meaning "hobby-horse" (dada, internet).
Both Dadaism and cubism are nearly intertwined. However, they are distinct periods, with Dadaism following on the heels of cubism. Both periods began in Europe, and were pioneered by artistic contemporaries.
The two periods are strikingly similar insofar as they both rejected traditional artistic values, and modes of reality representation. They both evolved out of dissatisfaction -- and even disgust -- with the predominant bourgeois values of the time. In a sense, these values -- along with a general refusal to dissent against authoritarian figures (from all aspects of life) led to the first World War, and set the stage for World War II. It is difficult to conceive of any war that is made without the popular approval of the people. Both Dadaism and cubism reject conventional ways of viewing reality -- a reality that was suffused with a lazy eye towards novel forms and ideas about art.
While the two periods were very similar, they were nonetheless two distinct periods with differing chronologies. Although cubism rejected the realists' artistic depictions, they still wholly embraced the idea of art, and generally did not see it as a way of dissenting against overall sociopolitical values. They were still very much invested in the traditional art world. However, the Dadaist movement was a direct reaction to the meaninglessness and emptiness of an existence characterized by the values of war, i.e. death, destruction, and greed. Dadaism even rejected art itself, embracing a nihilistic philosophy -- creating art more for "art's sake". For example, to the Dadaists, a worn leather shoe nailed to a post would be enough to satisfy their criteria for art. Dadaists could be viewed as anarchists, or "anti-artists" in their total rejection of mainstream art, as well as much of fine art's pretense. Thus, Dadaism was an about-face from cubism in this sense. The chief reason for this deviation from the efforts of cubism was caused by the international involvement in World War I.
One of the epitomes of cubist paintings is Les Demoiselles D'Avignon by Picasso. Painted in 1907, it represents a small group of women painted in an abstract manner. However, the abstraction resembles a geometric arrangement of nudes with grotesque, angular faces that seem to embody more than two dimensions. The plane of the painting resembles an abstract sculpture insofar as it uses at least three dimensions. Its sense of figurative motion also implies a movement through time, as well as space.
Similarly, Colorado of Medusa by Max Ernst is an abstract, colorful painting that utilizes sharp geometric forms. In this work, however, there is no representation of the human form. Its colors (various hues of oranges, reds, and yellows) are more visually-striking than Picasso's effort. Its openness to interpretation is a hallmark of Dadaism, as is its defiance of categorization and its experimentalism.
The influence of Dadaism can still be felt, and observed. For example, the modern phenomenon of the "flash mob", where people randomly dance in public places, can be viewed as events that occur in the spirit of Dadaism. Also, much performance art and even the spontaneity of stand-up comedy is rooted in Dadaism. Many contemporary artists such as J.M. Graves, Chicken Mutt Sueno, and George Arntz perform randomly and spontaneously, using found-objects as props, or walking in major metro areas pushing a lawnmower along the streets, or even hammering books and cereal boxes into utility poles while wearing a dress and boxing headgear. Modern performers such as Beck have used randomly-cut photomontages in their music videos, and sing random lyrics as part of their song ballads. A large part of dada's appeal is to the world-at-large, a world that wants to be entertained and observe art as "happenings".


Cubism. (n.d.) Retrieved on 08 Dec 2014 from
Dada. (n.d.). Retrieved on 08 Dec 2014 from

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