Or Dadaism; Artistic and literary movement founded 1915 in Zürich, Switzerland, by the Romanian poet Tristan Tzara (1896–1963) and others in a spirit of rebellion and disillusionment during World War I. Other Dadaist groups were soon formed by the artists Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray in New York, Francis Picabia in Barcelona, and Kurt Schwitters in Germany. The Dadaists produced deliberately antiesthetic images, often using photomontages with worded messages to express their political views, and directly scorned established art, as in Duchamp’s Mona Lisa 1919, where a moustache and beard were added to Leonardo da Vinci’s classic portrait.
With the German writers Hugo Ball and Richard Huelsenbeck, Tzara founded the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich 1916, where works by Hans Arp, the pioneer Surrealist Max Ernst, and others were exhibited. In New York in the same period the artist Man Ray met Duchamp and Picabia and began to apply Dadaist ideas to photography. The first international Dada exhibition was in Paris 1922. Dada had a considerable impact on early 20th-century art, questioning established artistic conventions and values. In the 1920s it evolved into Surrealism.
The movement chose its name, which is children's French for hobby-horse, at random from a dictionary.
A nihilistic art movement (especially in painting) that flourished in Europe early in the 20th century; based on irrationality and negation of the accepted laws of beauty; Also called: Dadaism.