- Gallery - Index by Period
HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
Periods Alphabetically Nationality Topics Themes Medium Glossary

Sort by Period
Sort Alphabetically
Sort by Nationality
Themes in Art


Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc

All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
28 October, 2012
Real Time Analytics

Index by Period

(1916 - 1922)

For perhaps 500 years or more there have been art "movements". Some are merely the figments of art historians' fertile imaginations, fulfilling a need to give a "name" to a period in the course of human artistic events. In so doing, they have developed two light-hearted theories regarding art history. One, the sequential view, states that art history is just one damn thing after another. The other, a cyclical view, states that art history is the same damn thing, over and over again. There are viable arguments for both views but personally, I tend to favour the cyclical over the sequential.

Regardless of your point of view, during this century, art movements have become much more self-conscious, and none more so than that which arose in 1916, during World War I, which declared itself against art itself. The name chosen by the architects of this movement, chief amongst them Marcel Duchamp, was the supposedly nonsense term, Dada. Said to have been chosen at random from the dictionary such a claim is at best, dubious. The term, in fact, has different meanings in different languages (as befits an international movement). In Russian, for instance, it means simply "yes, yes". In English, it is often a baby's first word. Whatever the case, it has come to refer to art that is meaningless, absurd, and/or unpredictable.

Citing the absurdities of life, death, and war (and the insanities that give rise to it), the Dadaists declared that art, a reflection of such nonsense, was itself stupid and must be destroyed. Yet, to communicate their outrage, the Dadaists created works of art. Such contradictions inevitably spelled an end to the movement by about 1922. It did however, during its short life, give birth to a much more substantial movement--Surrealism.

contributed by Lane, Jim

14 December 1997

Artists Related Articles
Marcel Duchamp
Max Ernst
Georg Grosz
Private Art Collections
The New Century
World War I and Dada
German Dada
The Lunatics Take Over the Asylum
The Armory Show
The Arensberg Circle
Vernacular Art
Too Much Freedom?
Jean Arp
Man Ray
The Students of Matisse
Painting with Light
What Post Modern Art is Not
The Art Tug-of-War


Terms Defined

In Context