Week 2 Assignment Post

For class this coming week, you will need to have read the Goldberg chapters on Dada and Surrealism, made at least two comments on this post, added 4 links to your del.icio.us site, posted images of your Beuys project to Flickr, and have your proposal for the performing the process project ready (I prefer it if you email this to me).

 Here are some things to consider regarding the readings:

  • What might the perceived use of writing and publishing manifestos have been for the artist groups you have read about? What do you think the actual results were at the time? How is this different from the results over time, i.e., how have the manifestos affected the transition of these movements from practice to history?
  • Respond to the insight into artists’ practice that their involvement to whatever degree in these movements has  provided to your understanding of their work and their place in cultural history (ex.: Picasso’s costumes for Parade, Satie’s infamy, etc.).
  • Given your personal area of  focus (visual art, music, theater, etc.), does this history of artistic cross-pollination lend insight into your understanding of the current state of your specialty area? How does it inform your participation in an interdisciplinary degree?


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29 responses to “Week 2 Assignment Post

  1. ladywood

    Dada was a movement that sprang up in 1916 in Switzerland, mainly in protest of the War and nationalistic art, but was created to protest art. It was really the start of ‘modern art’. It involved all aspects of art such as painting, theater, and photography. It also later gave way to fluxus, surrealism, and pot art.
    Personally, though I understand where it came from, I really don’t understand it. I look at pieces of art that sprung from Dada, such as a urinal on its side, and wonder why in the name of God we call it art.

  2. ladywood

    This cross-artistic pollination of art has in no way effected my art. I have always been a traditional artist, never bending from the fine, flawless look. When first studying dada, fluxux and all contemporary art, I really had to force myself to call it art. In art classes, I struggled to create abstract pieces, my mind screaming that it wasn’t art and I could MUCH more easily draw a real horse than one broken down into shapes or lines. It was something I had to force myself to create, and it was a challenge.
    Now, while I understand contemporary art, and have been training to appreciate it for art, I still find myself memorized by traditional fine art. Warhol and I are still friends, but Da Vinci and I do coffee more often.

  3. cleasure

    For these artists, writing manifestos seems to have played a large part in defining their movements. It seems that they were intrigued by the idea of art as such a political or social force and their manifestos were just a part of their statement to society. In writing down their goals and regulations in this way, it allowed them to be more exclusionary about what was considered part of their movement. Their manifestos also happen to serve as a great record of both the participants and the ideals of the various groups which otherwise may have been hard to trace.

  4. cleasure

    Picasso has been one of the best known artists for quite some time, but few people know what all he accomplished in his lifetime. Reading about him in the context of the dada performance art movement might be one of the best ways to understand just how broad his body of work was. In my previous art history classes, we studied Picasso for his cubist paintings and in one class we even studied some of his ready-made collages that are part of the dada movement. I found it incredibly interesting that he designed costumes for Parade and that he had so much influence on the art scene that the Surrealists tried to bring him over to their side. As well as being a talented two-dimensional artist, he seems to have been a large part of the avant-garde culture.

  5. proverbs3v18

    Though within the last few years, I have opened myself up to more contemporary art, like ladywood I am more of a traditionalist. Dadaism is more like an experimental phase in a teenager’s life to me than something of real substance in the character of a person’s life.

    I thought perhaps that Dadaism could be carrying on the futurist notion of getting people to think about art – but not so. Instead, people go to these soirees expecting bad art or simply for fame and the name, ‘The public was delighted…This, after all, was being “modern” – Parisians love that’ (75) – a quote from Ribemont-Dessaignes. “…[T]he public which had come to beg for an artistic pittance, no matter what, as long as it was art…” (75). Could we call it art? (Yes, I think they do) Yet Dada is anti-art. It is a paradox of sorts like deconstructionist theory applied to language, but deconstructionism must be defined – which is not really possible if language is so fluid? Uncertain? In any case, it may be that I just do not understand this “art”-movement. Since it is not meant for the thinker, then perhaps I am wasting my time.
    It is my own personal preference and classical training I suppose, that makes me see “art” as something that takes concentrated effort and developed ideas/skills. Dadaism could fit that, yet why am I hesitant to accept it as “art”? It may be that I can glean nothing of worth from it – with the futurists, I could at least see value in getting people to think – but the Dadaists? What do they have to offer?

    On another level, I suppose it should make me optimistic that any kind of can be accepted and praised as art – so we all have some sort of fighting chance. With any luck, we will become another to-be-famous-fad, and then have books written on us.

  6. proverbs3v18

    As to cross-fertilization, I do not see it as much within my specific area because I am not a collaborative artist. Certainly, subjects and media interplay – that is why I do not limit myself to any particular medium or subject (though I do have some preferences). But this stems from my belief that in every new thing/technique you try, you learn something new about yourself and/or your work that can apply to other areas of those.

    I am not surprised about the interdisciplinary practices as much as I am surprised at the particular artists that chose to align themselves/help the Futurists/Dadaists/Surrealists/etc. This is likely because I only know a small portion of their works, and find it hard to see them contributing to a particular cause/idea that does not fit with what I see. This changes the boundaries of artistic practices for me a little more –artists with completely different aesthetics/ideas can appreciate and admire each other’s work even if it is at odds with their own, and come together to collaborate at times. Certainly I have read some history of it, but I do not see it often in present-day practices. Perhaps I just need more exposure to the “art”world.

  7. trinityblk

    One thing I noticed with the artist of the Dada movement was their constant struggle between new art and their own productions. Many artist wanted to create new pieces, but felt a need to stay within their original manifestos. These manifestos seemed to express and yet restrain the artist. What is the point of doing performance art that give the surveyor no information, only to write a manifesto that explains the artists ideas. It seems to be the fine line of “bucking” the mainstream art world, but keeping an audience tuned in.

    The Dada movement and surelism never played a consious role in my art or study focus. My main forte has been in musical theater and plays. This “mainstream” form of art has never required that I study the origins of Performance Art.

  8. trinityblk

    While many critique Goldberg her book does help give some insight for me into the history of this type of artist and art. When I used to think of the 1900’s I never thought of revolutionary artists being so vocal about their culture/country. When most people think of “free-thinkers” most people think of hippies from the 60’s. It was interesting to see photos of the artists in the different movements. It seems that while they chose to shake up the art world they kept to the aesthtic trends of the time.

  9. thehankfuldread

    well, when it comes to manifestos, i find it utterly hilarious that they are written for movements, outside of politics and religion and the like. though i most definitely understand the reasons for them, and they definitely let people know “what you are about” and give people a good idea of what you supposedly believe, i find them unnecessary. i feel that a movement such as dada would be more effective without telling people exactly why they were doing what they were doing. by keeping reason somewhat in the dark, it creates an opportunity for more interesting dialogue between the members of the movement, and the audience, or innocent passerby-ers, as the case may be. by making people actually think about what is going on, and why people are making art that makes others extremely uncomfortable, and unhappy, it creates a wonderful opportunity for conversation, and exchange. i do, on the other hand realize the possibility of people downright rejecting the art, artists, and movement as a whole without a manifesto for explanation, but i think that that could be overcome by the spreading conversation and dialogue of everyone effected.

  10. thehankfuldread

    i think that cross pollination of the arts today, at least in the art world that i am present in, is not very prevalent. though i know of some very theatrical bands, and people who paint to live music and such, overall people tend to do very interesting things, but still within the confines of their own discipline. i also find cross pollination to be quite distracting in the arts, especially when it comes to music. i believe that the best of music, can stand on its own, without any other elements, such as visual arts, or theater, or anything. i think that the sharing of ideas is essential, because that is what leads to innovation, but i believe in standing on my own, and leaving whats best left alone.

  11. desibrink

    I found it almost amusing when reading about the Dada gallery, especially the ‘Der Sturm’ exhibition. It must have been really interesting for people to be exposed to such new methods. I could only imagine how strange it must have been to walk in and hear someone announce that the plan was “to form a small group of people who would support and stimulate each other” I wonder what people’s initial thoughts might have been.

  12. desibrink

    I agree somewhat with ladywood about the cross-artistic pollination of art. I find it easier to create art that is in more of a ‘realism/ traditionalist’ fashion. I think this is mostly due to the familiarity of the world as I see it in everyday life; I see with my eyes and feel with my hands, so therefore when painting or drawing I recreate it from memories of my senses. It’s just easier for me to concentrate, at least in this stage in my life, on aesthetics rather than meanings or things like hidden messages.

  13. maewolff

    What I have realized about the numerous manifestos written during art movements is that they are not only a proclamation of new ideas, but they are a kind of patent on ideas. If it is written down and stamped with an author, or group of authors, the idea becomes property and cannot be claimed by another artist or thinker in that genre. I have a good feeling that is why so many of them were written by the same person, especially in the futurist movement, to make sure that the author’s ideas were recorded for historical purposes. However, they eventually became so frequent that the orginators of the manifestos became somewhat lost. Which I think is a bit ironic.

  14. maewolff

    I had just gone to see the UCCS production of “Ubu” (great show, very funny) with my theatre major sister, visiting from out of state, and learned, for the first time, about Alfred Jarry. Since then, he has come up in this particular class and text quite a few times. It occurred to me how often this happens within the interdisciplinary art world. I have a better understanding, not only of theatre and what my sister is doing in school, but of how much each discipline of art relies on one another for existance. Theatre cannot exist without the visual and musical art, and my own visual art background is enhanced greatly by the addition and knowledge of all the other disciplines. It makes me think my sister and I should get together and create something new, and write a manifesto about it.

  15. heidirides

    Manifestos served many purposes that have varied over time. First off, back in the day, the manifestos showed to the people that these artists were not a bunch of crazy peasants, but rather intelligent and articulate individuals or collectives. Second again during the time the manifestos were written they served to outline and contain the reasons behind the actions (art) that was practiced by those in a particular movement. Third, today, the manifestos serve to legitimize the actions of the artists for posterity, in that the manifestos serve to prove that the people believed in something and were attempting to realize a goal.

  16. heidirides

    In response to proverbs3v18 I wholeheartedly disagree with your view that Dada is not an art for thinkers. Dada is an art movement precisely for thinkers. Dada is all about thinking. It’s obviously not about traditional aesthetics, or traditional painter’s skill. Anyone, thinking or not can immediately recognize a DaVinci drawing for what it is, a drawing! I think Dada was trying to expand the definition of art beyond simply “a pretty picture.” The Dadaists were reacting to the environment and society in which they found themselves, and wanted to express it in an art that embodied their times, and the result was not a “pretty picture.”

  17. Cheri Soulia

    The Dada movement was a very interesting time in art. I like how Dada Artists were trying to come back to their true nature…they made art because they loved it, not because of the money which they thought had become the main focus of art. It was interesting because it was like they were protesting capitalism which is what our nation is built on and at times completely takes over our lives. It expanded the idea of: What is Art? It made viewers broaden their minds of what they normally would expect and in return people began to expect more of themselves, others, and the art world.

  18. Cheri Soulia

    Manifestos of art really began to look at human rights and political issues people had. I don’t think it was really on a personal level, it was broader. A modern version of this today would be the post-colonial art that looks at issues that many people are divided on and it gives insight into the situation. Although manifestos used more of a shock to get the viewers attention, this post-colonial art has similar intentions.

  19. Isaiah D

    It was entertaining to read that the Dada art was widely rejected, not because I dislike Dada or anything like that, more that it was inspiring to see that they were willing to make a stand against traditional art forms and were willing to pay the penalties for it. I can’t imagine having to flee the country because of art.

  20. Isaiah D

    Secondly, I admire the fact that they eventually started making art to create social awareness and action. A lot of things now a days are done in the same pseudo manner but we don’t face the same kind of ostracizing for our actions because we have certain liberties as artists that the dadaist movement created for us.

  21. kait

    I agree with Cheri’s statement on the importance of the dada movement. It brought the art world back into its originality of beauty, and art for the sake of art. Unfortunatly today I feel as though we have streed far away again…ie. kinkade, etc.

  22. kait

    In any art degree seeking student cross-disciplinary studies are key and necessary. I never had such an appreciation to the dificulties of drawing even with pen and ink until I was expected to do it myself. As an art history major there is a lot of reading and memorizing and little interaction between the art lover and art. All areas of art need to be studied, appreciated, and understood in order for any artist to truly be well versed in the world of art, no matter their degree.

  23. cmndrkeen

    Reading about these cafes and cabarets makes me wish I could have been in on all that. I suppose there are versions of that type of thing these days, but it seems less…historically important. Though, maybe years from now people will be reading about movements started in this day in age and wishing they could have been a part of those too.

  24. cmndrkeen

    Every artist I’ve been reading about that was a part of the Dada movements and surrealism movements, especially the collaborative shows or exhibitions, seemed to have some different specialty or genre. They were all connected though. Each person could contribute their little piece or work, whether it be a painting, photograph, sculpture, or monologue, and it was a part of the movement.
    We all need to understand the same concepts to create art, it just comes out of us in different ways.

    Man it would have been so fun to hang out in the cabarets with Duchamp and Man Ray!

  25. Heather Berryman

    I was awed by reading that famous filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein was a regular contributor to Dadaist performance. I’d known for a long time that artists “fed off” artists and other arts and were always communicating, but I hadn’t put together the thought that contributors and participants in one art may become famous for their work in another art. I’d never thought that one of the greatest filmmakers had been heavily involved early on in Dadaist performance. Cool!

  26. Heather Berryman

    There is one (probably of many) thing that I don’t understand about Dadaism. If these artists truly were abolishing the object from art, how could they use costumes, props, etc., in their performances? Doesn’t us of these things equate to focus on an object, however small? Isn’t it not really the object itself that the Dadaists rejected but the degree of focus on that object? Just wondering.

  27. kkomaenge

    I agree with Cheri Soulia who says “they made art because they loved it, not because of the money”. Many people ask me what is my major and I answered “visual art” but most people answered “you will not make money if you are not popular”. I think most artists love their work and so do i. Moreover, what is art? Many people ask this question but there is no correct answer for this. This world has many different kinds of art. Some people would not like some art but people like any kind of art. It depend how people understand art.

  28. kkomaenge

    I do not like Dada’s work. Some people already made pieces of art. Some people are might like pieces of art and some people might not. Even though people do not like the artists people would not change their concept of art. Dada’s works kind of negative. He can make his own art. He should not be suing other people’s art to make his art.

  29. elpetty84

    As a theater major this reading gave me a different perspective as to how all of the fields work as one in a performance. Each field had its own starting point in history and all of the artists and performers through time made it possible. Every field had gone through some sort of growth in order to get where it is today. I found it very intrigiung that in the reading all of the performers from each of the fields worked together on the same stage by combining all of thir talents into one giant performance. In this day in age, all of these fields are separated into sub-categories; some of them work together in order to make the performance possible. Such as theater; a theater performance needs music, dancing, on occasion, film, and art. In some theater performances, these components could not function without each one meshing together. Each field is different in its own way but it is each of these fields that make each artist different and unique from another.

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