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Special Collections

The Dada Archive

TIMOTHY SHIPE

From Books at Iowa 39 (November 1983)
Copyright: The University of Iowa

[Note: The following essay remains extremely useful as an outline of Iowa's holdings and collecting program. A revised version of this article and up-to-date information on the project can be found from the Dada Archive homepage at http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/.]

Dada artwork

In the second and third decades of this century, a new kind of artistic movement swept Europe and America. Its very name, "Dada" -- two identical syllables without the obligatory "-ism" -- distinguished it from the long line of avant-gardes which have determined the history of the arts in the last 200 years. Its proponents came from all parts of Europe and the United States at a time when their native countries were battling one another in the deadliest war ever known. They did not restrict themselves to being painters, writers, dancers, or musicians; most of them were involved in several art forms and in breaking down the boundaries which kept the arts distinct from one another. Indeed, the Dadaists were not content to make art. They wanted to affect all aspects of Western civilization, to take part in the revolutionary changes which were the inevitable result of the chaos of the First World War. They were not interested in writing books and painting pictures which a public would admire in an uninvolved manner; rather, they aimed to provoke the public into reacting to their activities: to the Dadaists, a violently negative reaction was better than a passive acceptance. The Dada movement was the most decisive single influence on the development of twentieth-century art, and its innovations are so pervasive as to be virtually taken for granted today. Because of its importance for both artistic and social history, Dada has become the subject of intense scholarly interest on the part of researchers in language, literature, art, music, theater, sociology, the history of ideas -- in fact, every field which deals in some way with contemporary culture and civilization. And the single most important resource for these scholars is the Dada Archive and Research Center at The University of Iowa.

What was Dada? Why is there a Dada Archive? And why, of all places, is it in Iowa?

Of all the influential artistic movements which flourished in the first half of the twentieth century, Dada is the one which most urgently requires an intensive and exhaustive effort to preserve and make available its documents. There are two reasons for this: the movement's inherent importance for contemporary culture, and the ephemeral nature of its productions.

Contemporary art as we know it could not have come into existance without Dada. Virtually every artistic principle and device which underlies the literature, music, theater, and visual arts of our time was pioneered, if not invented, by the Dadaists: the use of collage and assemblage; the application of aleatory techniques; the tapping of the artistic resources of the preliterate cultures of Africa, America, and Oceania; the extension of the notion of abstract art to literature and film; the breaking of the boundaries separating the different art forms from one another and from "everyday life"; the notion of art as performance; the expropriation of elements of popular culture; the notion of interaction or confrontation with the audience -- everything which defines what we loosely call the "avant-garde." One would be hard pressed to name an artistic movement since 1923 which does not, at least in part, trace its roots to Dada: Surrealism, Constructivism, Lettrism, Fluxus, Pop- and Op-Art, Conceptual Art, Minimalism. But the effects of Dada are not limited to the world of the arts; its impact on contemporary life has been felt from the streets of Chicago to Madison Avenue. The style of political protest which came to the forefront in the late sixties -- mock trials, Yippies, Guerrilla theater -- can readily be traced back to the actions of the Dadaists in Zurich, Berlin, and Paris during and after the First World War. And commercial advertising as we know it today is indebted to the Dadaists' experiments with collage and typography; indeed, two members of the Berlin Dada group founded a "Dada Advertising Agency," and the Hanover Dadaist Kurt Schwitters designed newspaper and magazine advertisements which pioneered techniques which we now take for granted.

But beyond the inherent importance of the Dada movement, there are particularly urgent reasons why a Dada Archive is vital at this moment in history. The artists and writers of Dadaism did not aim to create eternal works of art and literature; they wanted to open the way to a new art and a new society by undermining and exposing what they saw as the stale cultural conventions of a decayed European civilization which had led the world into the conflagration of the Great War of 1914-18. The record of their effort is of immeasurable interest; but by the very nature of their program, the Dadaists left the documentation of their movement to the mercy of the winds of chance. The record of an art which values action over stability, the moment of interaction or confrontation between artist and public over the eternity of a published poem or an artwork in a museum, is in danger of disappearing forever. The Dadaists did publish books which can be found in libraries, create paintings and sculptures which are displayed in the major museums of two continents. But the real spirit of Dada was in events -- cabaret performances, demonstrations, declarations, confrontations, the distribution of leaflets and of small magazines and newspapers which appeared for one or two issues, and actions which today we would call guerrilla theater. But the documentation of these events was by no means as careful as that of the "Conceptual Art" and the "happenings" of the sixties and seventies. The documentation does exist -- in announcements and programs of performances, in throwaway leaflets, in newspaper accounts, in the diaries and correspondence of the participants, their associates and audiences -- but it has never until now been collected and made easily available to those who would study the movement. [1] Add to all this the fact that these documents were written or printed on the poor-quality paper of the World War I era, and the ephemeral nature of the record becomes still more striking. These documents must be preserved and at the same time made available to scholars. This task is now being undertaken at The University of Iowa.

And why Iowa? One answer lies in a clear affinity between the movement and this University. The internationalist, multilingual, multimedia nature of Dada makes Iowa, with its International Writers' Program, its Writers' Workshop, its Center for Global Studies, its Translation Workshop and Center, its dynamic programs in music, dance, art, theater, film, literature, and languages, an especially appropriate place to house the Dada Archive. A brief glance at the history of Dada will make this affinity clear. [2]

The movement was founded in 1916 in Zurich, a neutral city in the middle of a war-torn Europe, by a group of exiles from countries on both sides of the conflict. Some were draft dodgers; most were pacifists; all found refuge on Swiss soil and were outraged by the slaughter taking place on all sides. In February, in a tavern a few paces from Lenin's home in exile, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Tristan Tzara, and others rounded the Cabaret Voltaire, dedicated to presenting, in Ball's words, "the ideals of culture and of art as a program for a variety show.'' [3] Some two months later, under circumstances about which the participants themselves have never agreed, the name "Dada" was chosen for the movement which was growing out of the cabaret's activities. (The most popular version of the story is that the word was picked at random from a French-German dictionary. For decades afterwards, the founders disagreed as violently or as gleefully -- about the meaning of the word as about the manner of its discovery.) The evenings at the cabaret, prototypes for Dada performances throughout Europe, combined presentations of the art, drama, and poetry of the different avant-gardes which had swept the continent since the turn of the century -- Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism -- with the often chaotic, often whimsical creations of the Zurich Dadaists themselves. Poems were recited simultaneously in French, German, and English; Ball, dressed in a bizarre cardboard costume, recited his sound poetry. Richard Huelsenbeck punctuated the proceedings with a continual drumbeat. It would be hard for us to find much that was overtly political in the early Dada performances and publications, but from the beginning the movement dedicated itself to attacking the cultural values which its members believed had led to world war. The tools for this attack, radical at the time, are familiar to us all as the most basic concepts of the modern arts: chance, collage, abstraction, audience confrontation, eclectic typography, sound and visual poetry, simultaneity, the presentation and emulation of tribal art -- all things which we have taken for granted since the sixties at latest.

Dada magazines

When the war ended and it was again possible to travel freely, most of the Dadaists left Switzerland and spread their movement throughout Europe, most notably to Berlin and Paris. In Berlin, during the closing months of the war, Richard Huelsenbeck joined forces with a group of writers and artists on the fringes of the Expressionist movement who eagerly adapted the name and spirit of Dada. The situation there was radically different from that in staid, peaceful, affluent Zurich. Following the collapse of the German Empire, society was in a state of complete disorder. A variety of leftist factions battled the forces of the still unstable Weimar Republic. Poverty was everywhere. In this context, the majority of the Berlin Dadaists opted for an overtly political movement, vaguely allied with the factions of the left. But their techniques, logical extensions of the cabaret programs of the Zurich years, were hardly those of orthodox communism. Various members disrupted services at the Berlin cathedral, demonstrated at the National Assembly at Weimar, distributed leaflets and manifestoes expounding a series of increasingly bizarre and whimsical demands, displayed posters consisting of randomly arranged letters of the alphabet, and even declared a section of Berlin to be an independent "Dada Republic." They also engaged in more ostensibly conventional artistic activities -- theater and cabaret performances, lecture tours, exhibitions, the publication of books and periodicals but always with a flair for the unexpected, the unconventional. Their journals would appear for one or two numbers, hastily distributed to outrage the censors, and once banned by the authorities, reappear under new titles. The biting caricatures of George Grosz and the photomontages of Raoul Hausmann and John Heartfield satirized in a far-from-gentle manner the contradictions and injustices of German society in this crucial transitional period. Unfortunately, the faith of these Berlin Dadaists in the avant-garde's role in the German revolution was as mistaken as that of the Russian avant-garde in the new Bolshevik regime at about the same time. Where the Bolsheviks mercilessly crushed the Russian avant-garde, the German Communists, whose revolution was defeated, merely abandoned the Dadaists. Some of the Berlin participants, like Grosz, Heartfield, and Wieland Herzfelde, lost patience with the apparent lack of seriousness on the part of their colleagues and devoted themselves to more orthodox modes of political action and propaganda. The others, after the demise of Berlin Dada, followed their own independent directions.

In Paris, meanwhile, Tristan Tzara served an emissary role similar to that of Huelsenbeck in Berlin. His arrival from Zurich had been joyfully awaited by a group of young French writers connected with the review Litterature --among them Louis Aragon, Andre Breton, and Paul Eluard. These men and their colleagues sponsored a series of public performances which included the reading of manifestoes, performances of plays, skits, and music, and most importantly (and in true Dada tradition), confrontation and undercutting of the audience's expectations. Announcements of these events would promise such treats as the "presentation of Dada's sex" and the head shaving of all the leading Dadaists. The public which came in the vain expectation that these promises would be kept provided the sort of violent reaction in which the members of the Paris movement, and especially Tzara, so delighted. Dada achieved its greatest "successes" in Paris; it was reported and hotly debated not only in small literary reviews, but also in the major newspapers and magazines, as well as in every cafe in the city. Its performances were well attended, if often by largely hostile audiences. The Dadaists, after all, were not looking for approval from the public; they wished to provoke them, to confront them, to make them think, notice, react. It is in these terms that their success must be measured; and success, for a time, they had. But like the Berlin movement, Paris Dada was soon split. The Litterature group grew tired of Tzara's anarchistic approach, which, to them, soon became repetitious. Eventually it was the different factions of Dadaists who interrupted one another's events. Breton and his associates went on to seek a more "positive" approach to the problems raised by Dada; by the end of 1923, Dada in Paris had given way to the new Surrealism, which had assimilated many aspects of its program and problematics.

Since the legendary Armory Show of 1915 -- the exhibition which in troduced modern art to America -- there had existed in New York a group of French and American artists and writers whose ideas and methods were in many ways parallel to those of the movement developing in Zurich. New York, like Zurich, was a haven for European refugees from the war. Attracted to the circles of the photographer Alfred Stieglitz and the poet-businessman Walter Conrad Arensberg, artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Francis Picabia shared many notions remark ably similar to those of the Dadaists: interest in primitive art; the adaption of photographic methods for artistic purposes; the artistic treatment, sometimes exalting, sometimes ironic, of the machine; the utilization of chance; and found objects. After the war, Picabia visited Zurich and then became a key figure in Paris Dada; Duchamp, visiting Paris, also had extensive contact with the Dadaists. Recognizing the affinity of this movement with the activities of the Stieglitz and Arensberg circles, the French artists persuaded the New York group to become an "official" Dada center. Based more on private gatherings than on the public performances around which Dada in Zurich, Berlin, and Paris revolved, this "official" New York Dada movement lasted less than a year and published only a single issue of its review. But its participants have continued to exert a profound influence on the arts in America and France down to the present time. American poets, composers, and painters like William Carlos Williams, e. e. cummings, George Antheil, and Charles Sheeler, while never direct participants in the movement, display in their works numerous telltale signs of their contact with the New York and Paris Dadaists. (Indeed, visitors to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art will find that even Iowa's own Grant Wood, who was in Paris during part of the Dada era, created some machine constructions and other works which show distinct traces of the Dada spirit!)

Dada centers sprouted throughout and beyond Europe. In Hanover, Kurt Schwitters's collage art and poetry, based on the simplest materials of everyday life (string, newspaper headlines, streetcar tickets) was too "bourgeois" for some of the more strictly political Berlin Dadaists; so he embodied the spirit of Dada in his own, one-man movement, which he called "Merz" -- a meaningless syllable taken from the middle of the name of a major Hanover bank. At the same time, Schwitters collaborated in performance and lecture tours with members of the Berlin group like Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Hoch, and Johannes Baader, whose notions of Dada were more akin to his own. In Cologne, Hans Arp, Max Ernst, and Johannes Baargeld ("John Cash" -- a pseudonym, of course) were the central figures in a movement which focused on provocative, collaborative artworks. Their chief publication, Der Ventilator, was banned by the British occupation forces after five issues. Their most notorious exhibition was held in the courtyard of a brewery and reached through the men's room; it included some of the most shocking of all Dada constructions, and Max Ernst obligingly provided a hatchet with which viewers were told to destroy his sculpture. A Dutch Dada movement developed in tandem with De Stijl, a school of design and architecture whose emphasis on simplicity, geometry, and primary colors has affected the appearance of every major city in the world. Elsewhere, writers and artists took up the call of Dada in places as remote as Yugoslavia, Argentina, and Japan.

By 1923 Dada was, for all practical purposes, dead as a movement. Most of its participants, however, continued to be active, artistically and otherwise, for the better part of the next 50 years. They took an astounding variety of social and artistic directions, from religious conversion (Hugo Ball) to direct action on behalf of political movements of the left and the right (John Heartfield, Wieland Herzfelde, Franz Jung, Julius Evola). Richard Huelsenbeck became a New York psychiatrist, George Grosz an American landscape artist. Some went on to found new artistic movements (most notably the Paris Dadaists turned French Surrealists); others, like Hausmann and Schwitters, working in relative isolation, took independent, often eccentric artistic directions. But almost all of them were strongly shaped by the movement in which they participated between 1915 and 1925. By the 1940s, mainly as a result of the Second World War, a large number of the former Dadaists had come to live in the United States, repeating the exile that had brought many of them together in Zurich and New York 25 years earlier. Among those who remained as permanent residents were Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Richard Huelsenbeck, and Hans Richter. This coming together of the old clan marks the beginning of a surge of interest in the movement which had been largely forgotten even though its infiuence was present everywhere. A key event in this renewal of interest was the publication in 1951 of Robert Motherwell's anthology The Dada Painters and Poets. This book, edited by one of the leading American painters of the mid-century, constituted the first real acknowledgment of the definitive role Dada had played in shaping twentieth-century art.

The interest in Dada's historical role has continued to grow from the late forties to the present. Two particularly significant events occurred at The University of Iowa in 1978. In that year, the Program in Comparative Literature and the School of Art and Art History, with the cooperation of other academic departments, the Museum of Art, and the University Libraries, sponsored an international conference on Dada and an exhibition entitled "Dada Artifacts" [Ed. note: the "Art" in "Artifacts" was crossed through with x lines]. It was this pair of events which led directly to the establishment of the Dada Archive and Research Center at The University of Iowa. By the end of the conference, the prominent scholars who had come from around the world to participate had agreed on the need for a single institution which would gather the widely scattered documentation of the Dada movement, preserve that documentation for posterity, and disseminate it to the international scholarly community. It was initially proposed to house such an archive at the Center for Twentieth Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Unfortunately, with the death of Professor Michel Benamou, the director of the center in Milwaukee, it became impossible to establish the archive there. The responsibility then fell clearly on The University of Iowa, where numerous faculty members and graduate students had strong research interests in Dada and where the 1978 conference and exhibition had been held. Furthermore, in preparing the Dada Artifacts exhibition, it had been learned that the Special Collections Department of the University Libraries already had extensive holdings of rare items from the Dada period, including many of the highly ephemeral periodicals such as Dada, Litterature, and Merz. So, under the direction of Professors Rudolf Kuenzli of comparative literature and Stephen Foster of art history, the Dada Archive and Research Center was established in 1979.

The center is involved in a number of vital and exciting programs and activities, among which are additional conferences on Dada and on the avant-garde in general, team-taught interdisciplinary courses, various publications including the journal Dada/Surrealism, and a photo documentary archive of first-generation slides of visual works. Proposed future projects include additional publications and research fellowships for scholars wishing to work at the center. The remainder of this article, however, will be devoted to a description of the project with which the University Libraries are directly involved: the Dada Literary Archive.

Under the direction of Professor Kuenzli, the activities of the literary archive have been made possible through generous financial support by various agencies of the University, The University of Iowa Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, the administration and staff of the University Libraries have given their full cooperation in countless ways; the project would have been inconceivable without this enthusiastic support. The name "literary archive" is a trifle misleading; the purpose of the archive is to preserve and disseminate the written documentation of the Dada movement, whether it relates to literature, painting, film, or any of the arts. Since most of the Dadaists were both writers and visual artists and since Dada was very much involved in overcoming the boundaries between the various art forms, an attempt to draw a rigid distinction between materials relating to literature and visual art would be both futile and clearly contrary to the nature of the movement.

Gathering the written documentation of Dada has involved three distinct but related projects. The first is the most extensive bibliographic search ever undertaken for published material relating to the Dada movement and to the individual participants. This includes all of the books written by the individual Dadaists, their contributions to books and periodicals, books which they illustrated, the small magazines which' emerged from the various centers of the movement, exhibition catalogs, and all sorts of secondary literature about the movement and the individual artists -- all relevant material published from 1915 to the present, whether in the form of books, parts of books, or articles in periodicals. This project, which is virtually completed, will result in the publication of a definitive bibliography of the movement.

A collection of photographsThe bibliographic information thus gathered has been used in carrying out the second project: an inventory of published materials relating to Dada currently housed in the University Libraries, and a systematic program for acquiring the material which the libraries do not yet own. Even before the archive was founded, Iowa's holdings in the field were among the most extensive in the world. The items turned up in the inventory included numerous rare first editions. Among the gems already in Special Collections were complete runs of many of the original Dada periodicals, as well as Marcel Duchamp's so-called Green Box, a container holding facsimiles of manuscript fragments of notes on his glass master piece, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, and intended to be the literary version of that work. The gathering of the published material not already in the collections has been accomplished partly through the libraries' regular acquisitions program and partly through the Dada Archive's own funding sources. The materials thus acquired are housed in the appropriate locations in the library system chiefly in Special Collections, the Art Library, and the stacks of the Main Library. There is also some nonprint material, such as a recording of the complete music of Marcel Duchamp in the Music Library and a nearly complete collection of Dada films in the Media Center.

The result of these two projects has been a collection of published Dada documents unequaled anywhere in the world. There is virtually no relevant book or journal which a scholar cannot find at The University of Iowa. But the most valuable aspect of the work of the Dada Literary Archive, the part which makes it a truly unique international resource, is the project of microfilming manuscripts and ephemera housed in public and private collections scattered throughout Europe and North America. By using a portable microfilm camera, Professor Kuenzli has been able to photograph material which would otherwise have been unavailable because of the scarcity of commercial microfilming services in Europe and the understandable reluctance of some collectors to allow valuable items to leave their custody. The sources of the manuscripts have ranged from the world's great art libraries to the proverbial shoe boxes beneath widows' beds; and the filming has taken place under the best and the most difficult conditions, from well-lighted research rooms to kitchen tables in remote Alpine villages. The one common denominator, though, has been the incredible cooperativeness and interest in the project on the part of the owners and curators of the material. This is certainly owing in part to the fact that, by making their irreplaceable manuscripts available for inspection on microfilm, they will spare the original documents the wear of frequent use, a use which, no matter how careful and responsible, is bound to cause further deterioration. In the case of private owners, most of whom are the heirs of major Dada figures, the microfilming also means that they will be spared the responsibility of opening the material to scholars, answering their countless questions, and often allowing them into their homes to consult the manuscripts. Beyond this, however, most of the public and private curators of these documents have themselves a deep interest in the Dada phenomenon and are eager to assist. in a project which will facilitate knowledge and understanding of the movement.

The materials on these films, which are carefully kept in a fireproof vault in Special Collections, constitute the most complete collection of the unpublished documentation of Dada in the world -- and the collection is growing as the director continues to travel in search of vital manuscripts and ephemera. A conservative estimate of the archive's present manuscript holdings would be 25,000 items (100,000 frames), including correspondence, literary manuscripts, drawings and sketchbooks, diaries, drafts of programs, invitations and manifestoes, personal reminiscences, film scripts, and descriptions and inventories of artworks. The microfilms also contain many books and periodicals so rare that it would have been impossible to obtain original editions for the University Libraries. Until now, the greatest strength of the collection has been in manuscripts of the German Dadaists -- precisely that area for which the available documentation has been the scantiest, in large part because of the ravages of the Second World War. The collection is especially strong in manuscripts of Hans (or Jean) Arp, Johannes Baader, Hugo Ball, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield, Hannah Hoch, Richard Huelsenbeck, Hans Richter, Kurt Schwitters, and Christoff Spengemann, representing primarily the Dada centers in Berlin, Hanover, and Zurich. By the time the Dada Literary Archive opens to the public, in about a year's time, it will have an ample representation of documentation for all of the major Dada centers and will be an indispensable resource for anyone doing research in the field.

Several tools have been developed to provide control of and access to the holdings of the Dada Literary Archive. The key to all of its resources is a card catalog which will be located in the Special Collections reading room. Organized by names of individual Dadaists and by a few broad subject headings, the catalog will serve as a guide to all material related to Dada anywhere in the University Libraries, regardless of type (books, journal articles, manuscripts, ephemera) and location (Main Library stacks, microfilms in Special Collections, the Art Library, or any of the other departmental libraries). A researcher working on, say, Raoul Hausmann -- a typical Dadaist in that he was a painter, monteur, sculptor, photographer, and writer of poetry, fiction, and essays in German, French, and English -- will consult the catalog and be guided to books, articles, manuscripts, diaries, and letters written by and to Hausmann, exhibition catalogs, and secondary literature about Hausmann. Two publications will provide detailed information about our resources to scholars who cannot make the journey to Iowa City, or who wish to prepare in advance for their visit. The published materials will be listed in a definitive bibliography. And the unpublished manuscripts are listed in great detail in a series of inventories of the microfilmed collections, each listing, frame by frame, the contents of the microfilms. These inventories will be avail able for use on site and will also be collected into a published guide to the Dada Literary Archive. The bibliography and the published guide will enable researchers at distant institutions to determine what material they require and to request it through interlibrary loan or, in the case of manuscripts, to request photocopies to be made directly from the films.

The Dada Literary Archive will be an invaluable resource both to the students and faculty of The University of Iowa and to the larger community of Dada scholars throughout the world. For a wide range of literary and art historians interested in the avant-garde and the develop ment of twentieth-century art, Iowa is already becoming synonymous with Dada. The activities of the Dada Archive and Research Center fit perfectly within the lively context of the arts in Iowa City, where poets, novelists, playwrights, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, and plastic artists, as well as critics and scholars, interact in a manner worthy of Zurich, Berlin, or Paris in the heyday of Dada.

Writers and Artists Associated with the Dada Movement

The bibliographic search and the collecting of the Dada Literary Archive have concentrated on the following individuals:

Louis Aragon; Walter Conrad Arensberg; Hans (Jean) Arp; Johannes Baader; Johannes Baargeld; Hugo Ball; Andre Breton; Arthur Cravan; Theo van Doesburg; Katherine S. Dreier; Marcel Duchamp; Viking Eggeling; Carl Einstein; Paul Eluard; Max Ernst; Julius Evola; Jefim Golyscheff; George Grosz; Raoul Hausmann; John Heart field; Emmy Hennings; Wieland Herzfelde; Hannah Hoch; Richard Huelsenbeck; Iliazd; Marcel Janco; Matthew Josephson; Franz Jung; Mina Loy; Walter Mehring; Mynona (Salomo Friedlaender); Benjamin Peret; Francis Picabia; Man Ray; Adya and Otto van Rees; Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes; Hans Richter; Christian Schad; Kurt Schwitters; Walter Serner; Philippe Soupault; Christof Spengemann; Alfred Stieglitz; Sophie Taeuber-Arp; Jan Tschichold; Tristan Tzara; Beatrice Wood

 

[1] The few published collections of Dada documents have been eagerly received by literary and art historians, as well as by the general public. Robert Motherwell's The Dada Painters and Poets, 2nd ed. (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1981), which first appeared in 1951, was an American painter's tribute to the movement which was so important in shaping his own generation of artists; it is surely one of the most influential retrospective collections of documents ever assembled in any field. A series edited by Arturo Schwarz, Documenti e periodici dada (Milan: Mazzotta, 1970) documented the movement in each of the major centers, chiefly through handsome reprints of the many Dada periodicals.

[2] Some of the best introductions in English for the general reader are memoirs of the participants themselves: Flight Out of Time by Hugo Ball, ed. John Eiderfield, trans. Ann Raimes (New York: Viking Press, 1974), Memoirs of a Dada Drummer by Richard Huelsenbeck, ed. Hans I. Kleinschmidt, trans. Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Viking Press, 1974), and Dada: Art and Anti-Art by Hans Richter, trans. David Britt (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1965). Another important overview is Dada: Monograph of a Movement, ed. Willy Verkauf (1957; rpt. London: Academy Editions; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1975). Finally, two excellent sources are products of the Dada conference and exhibition held at The University of Iowa in 1978: the exhibition catalog Dada Artifacts (Iowa City: the University of Iowa Museum of Art, 1978) and the collection of essays Dada Spectrum, ed. Stephen C. Foster and Rudolf E. Kuenzli (Madison, Wisconsin: Coda Press ; Iowa Ctiy: The University of Iowa, 1979. Other sources which I have consulted include Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings, Damals in Zurich (Zurich: Verlag der Arche, 1978); Allan Carl Greenberg, Artists and Revolution, Studies in the Fine Arts; The Avant-garde no. 4 (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980); Raoul Hausmann, Am Anfang war Dada, ed. Karl Rhia and Gunter Kampf (Steinbach/Giessen, West Germany: Anabas-Verlag, 1972); Richard Huelsenbech, ed., Dada Almanach (1921; rpt. New York: Something Else Press, 1966); Walter Mehring, Berlin Dada (Zurich: Verlag der Arche, 1959); Karl Rhia and Hanne Bergius, eds., Dada Berlin (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1977); and Michael Sanouillet, Dada a Paris (Paris: J.J. Pauvert, 1965) .

[3] Quoted in Dada Artifacts, p. 41.

 

Illustrations:

1. detail from the cover of the first number of Kurt Schwitters's review Merz, 1923. From a copy in The University of Iowa Libraries.

2. Dada magazine from four centers of the movement: Dada, no.2 1917 (Zurich); Merz, no. 2, 1923 (Hanover); The Blind Man, no. 2, 1917 (New York); and Litterature, n.s., no. 9, 1923 (Paris). From copies in The University of Iowa Libraries.

 

3. A random selection from the 94 photographs, drawings, and manuscript fragments included in the Green Box (La Marine mise a nu par ses celibataires, meme, 1934), on which Marcel Duchamp worked during the Dada era. The fragments are to be read at random. From a copy in The University of Iowa Libraries.