Characteristics Of Dada Art


Dada was an early 20th century art movement that rejected the idea of art movements. It began in Zurich during the first World War as a collaborative effort among painters, writers and dramatists as well as other types of artists. It was motivated by the need to come to terms with the horrors of the war. Dada challenged the prevailing attitudes about art, culture and the legacy of Western rationalism. The Dadaists wanted to subvert the traditional concept of art. In doing so, they saw themselves as liberating human beings from the trappings of an oppressive bourgeois culture.

Social Critique

  • One of the leading themes and motifs in the Dada movement was social criticism. The Dadaists were inherently political in their motivations. They rejected the modernist conception of the autonomy of art or "art for the art's sake." Art in its various forms -- theater, the visual arts, literature and music -- should present critical perspectives through which to critique society. The Dadaists saw World War I as a logical consequence of bourgeois culture and civilization and its emphasize on rationalism and nationalism. The point of departure for Dada was the rejection of all "isms" as well as all cultural norms, standards and values.


  • The rejection of cultural standards and values also implied the rejection of "art" as well. The Dadaists saw themselves an an anti-art movement. Two of the primary assumptions of the traditional concept of art are that art work is original and that the truth value of the art work is eternal. Dada undermined both of these assumptions. Dada utilized various types of prefabricated materials, such as photographs, paintings and mass-produced objects in their art works. The emphasis is on the idea as much as the materials that are used. An everyday object is turned into an art by object by placing it an an artistic context. Marcel Duchamp's "Urinal" is one of the most infamous examples of this approach. In regards to the second point, the Dadaists emphasized the fleeting and ephemeral character of the art object. Various types of "happenings" and performance pieces were staged to emphasize this idea.

Shock Value

  • One way to challenge the prevailing cultural standards and values of bourgeois culture is to intentionally shock and provoke the audience. The Dadaists used shock as a means of challenging the public's sensibility and complacency about the contemporary world. In addition to challenging the rules for art, Dada's intent was to use art to encourage the public to think critically about all rules.


  • Dada equates rationalism with bourgeois culture, and consequently, as an element for art to reject and overcome. Dada embraced the irrational in a number of ways. It was heavily influenced by Freud's theories of the unconscious. It adopted the Freudian idea of free association as a method for freeing the unconscious from the censoring mechanisms of consciousness. Dada poets and writers use free association as a writing tool. Another approach to subvert conscious control of the the art work was to incorporate chance and randomness in the creation of the art work.


  • Photo Credit your product here image by Julia Britvich from
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • What Is Dada Art?

    Characteristics Of Dada Art. What Is Futurism? How to Create Dada Art. What Is Surrealism? What Is Neo-Dada? What Is Installation Art?...

  • What Is Modernism?

    ... a specific style of art or a characteristic, ... What Is Dada Art? What Is Fauvism? URL Embed. Comments Video Transcript....

  • Why Is the Dada Movement Important?

    Characteristics Of Dada Art. Dada was an early 20th century art movement that rejected the idea of art movements. It began in...

  • How to Write a Dada Poem

    Since Dada was an art movement that considered almost anything to be art, especially anything involving a random element, ... Characteristics Of...

  • How to Create Dada Art

    Characteristics Of Dada Art; Why Is the Dada Movement Important? How to Make War Protest Art; About Modern Protest Art; Kurt Schwitters'...

  • What Is Neo-Dada?

    Neo-Dada is a term given to mid-20th century practitioners who, ... Characteristics Of Dada Art. What Is Formalism? What Is Minimalism? Featured....

  • Characteristics of Fauve Art

    Fauve art, or fauvism, was a short-lived art movement that flourished in the early years of the 20th century. Its name derives...

  • What Is the Meaning of Montage in Art?

    The intent is to draw connections to previously disconnected images, ... Dada. The Dadaists in the 1920s became the most famous practitioners...

  • What Is Conceptual Art?

    Conceptual art is simply art based on ideas, and the movement began in the early 20th century when artists began concentrating more...

  • Artist Movements in the '80s

    Artists and the art they create have gone through many changes over the years. Every decade new art forms are introduced, usually...

  • Characteristics of an Ideal Performance Management System

    Companies use performance management systems to evaluate employees' efficiency at work and ability to perform certain tasks, either by automated or human...

  • What Is Fauvism?

    What Is Dada Art? What Is Fauvism? URL Embed. Comments Video Transcript. Hi. I'm Dr. Betty Brown and the topic of the...

Related Searches

Read Article

12 Tiki Essentials to Turn Your Bar Cart Into a Tropical Paradise

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!