Contemporary Dada Centennial Feature: Keith Chambers

As it is the first Friday in May, we have come to our second contemporary Dada artist feature: Keith Chambers, aka: Amalgamated Confusion.

About himself, Keith Chambers says, “I am not a dadaist, basically because I was born way after 1916, but also, I am not a nihilist. An iconoclast, maybe, but not a nihilist. Nonconformist is a good moniker.” He has also said, “. . . for the record, I cannot claim to be a dadaist, but instead, a neo-dadaist . . . I blame it all on time, but time seems to be blameless . . . ?”

Both are very Dadaist statements, as Dada hates to be labeled and instead prefers to break boundaries even as it sets them. In donning one, he seems to be casting it off at the same time. His work may speak more forcefully.

If you have been following the Friday Dada posts, you will have seen some of Keith’s work earlier. I have assembled those pieces along with a few older and newer works for your perusal. Enjoy!

KeithChambersOrangeI

Keith Chambers: Orange

DadaSelfAware

Dada is self aware – Keith Chambers

KeithChambersSurrender

Surrender to pulchritude – Keith Chambers

KeithChambersDADApoetry

Keith Chambers- Redacted Dada Poem

KeithChambersDadaisintheear

dada is in the ear… – Keith Chambers

The following photos document the most recent mailing from Keith to celebrate the Dada Centenary 1916-2016. It includes his Sunflower Tank commemorative artistamp sheets. I hope you enjoy perusing them as much as I enjoyed receiving them.

KeithChambersEnvDadaCentenary1916-2016

Keith Chambers Dada Centenary mailing envelope

KeithChambersCommemorativePCDadaCentenary1916-2016

Mirror image dada message postcard included inside – Keith Chambers

KeithChambersArtiststampSigned-NumberedDadaCentenary1916-2016

Keith Chambers Sunflower Tank Commemorative Artistamp sheet 16/24

KeithChanbersSunflowerTankArtistampsheetDadaCentenary1916-2016

Keith Chambers Sunflower Tank Commemorative Artistamp sheet 16/50

Keith’s work never fails to provoke deep thought, at least not in this recipient.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

 

 

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Friday Dada: Call for Dada

Despite my best efforts, this week’s Dada post is not only late, but lacking in substance. I apologize.

For your amusement, I offer you the MinneDaDa mail art call.

MinneDaDaMailArt1984 Call from Thomas M. Cassidy (Musicmaster)

Address to Musicmaster – Lyndale Ave S – Mpls MN 55419 (NOT to Bookstore) so he gets it by August 1st (2016)

Minnedada

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again.

Friday Dada: How do you know?

Short of someone placing the word DADA somewhere in their work, how do you know it is a dadaist piece?

Today, I will go over some over the key characteristics of Dada.

  • DADA loves a pun! The punnier, the better. Whether a visual pun or a verbal one, it matters not, so long as it is punny. A prime example of this turned up this past week in a featured piece from Catherine Mehrl Bennett in my Tuesday Trash Bubbles Post. On the back of her bubble was this little gem :

MAKE ART NOT CENTS

Here is an excerpt of what Catherine responded to one reader who misunderstood the intention of the artistamp: “The statement, “Make Art/ Not Cents” is more ambiguous than it appears at first glance. Also you need to look at it in the context of mailart, for which this stamp is intended for use. The poetic intent is the phonetic sound of Cents = Sense, and is a Dada statement in that regard. The “mailart” intent involves two levels: One is the context of artistamp design based on official postage which always has a specific VALUE element, and this artistamp is thus given NO value. Two is the context of mailart, which has an unspoken rule of NOT being intended for sale in the official art market.”

  • At it’s core, DADA is nonsensical. The original poets and artists of the new Dada age were trying to escape the real world. Their world had been rocked by war and fascism. They were attempting to create a lighter, more creative atmosphere, one that embraced rather than destroyed. And yet, Dada was negative and destructive in nature. It took things like words, tore them apart and reassembled them. Surely, you recall our previous talks about Tristan Tzara and his cut-up poems. Tristan Tzara, the Romanian poet was the driving force behind literary DADA and editor of the periodical, DADA beginning in 1917 with its first issue. Below are pictures of the covers for the first three issues.

Visual Dada was much the same as literary Dada insofar as nonsense and cutups. Early on, one of the leading visual Dada artists was Marcel Duchamp whose work was indicative of the tearing down of a thing only to reassemble it in another manner. (Remember his cubist-style paintings?) He freely admits that he passed through several movements of art before finding his niche. You really need to watch the following BBC interview of Duchamp from 1968.

See and hear for yourself why Marcel stayed on the fringe… and don’t forget to notice the Ready Made sitting to his left in the film! Yep, it’s his Egouttoir, or Bottle Dryer. I’m not certain if it’s the original from 1914 or a later version, of which there were several.

If you want to check out the Great Glass (Large Glass) that they discuss, this is the best link I’ve found: http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/54149.html#

  • Cést la vie! This french phrase means such is life, generally speaking. Here in the US, it translates loosely to Shit Happens. Pure Dadaists embraced Chance. By that, I mean that they accepted that things happen and if a thing happened to their art, or during their performance piece, it was meant to happen and it was embraced as part of a thing. This happens all the time in mail art. The postal cancellation, the elements, a footprint, a broken machine that burns marks upon the surface of mail. I hear so many folks say, “I’m so sorry the postal service allowed that to happen to this…” great thing you sent, or received. Few understand the organic concept of embracing the marks as part of the piece.

Well, boys and girls, that’s my DADA talk for today. Go, watch, read and learn! Come back and tell me something cool!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

Dada Poetry Review

You’ll recall the challenge I issued to create your own version of a Tristan Tzara dada cut-up poem?

Read the original post here: https://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/dadaism-celebrating-100-years/

Read the follow-up post here: https://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/a-look-at-dada-poetry/

Terry Owenby, of Portland, Oregon, bravely stepped outside her comfort zone to accept the challenge and this is what transpired…

Terry Owneby Dada Cut Up 2016

In the meantime, I completed two of my dada poems using the words played in Scrabble games and am sending them out to Terry Owenby and Keith Chambers, in thanks. Here’s one to whet your appetite:

Scrabble Dada Poem created within the confines of one game's word list.

Scrabble Dada Poem created within the confines of one game’s word list

Discovering new and unusual art is always a delight for me. This week, I found some great work being created by Ray Craig. I stumbled upon his “poem(s) set in stencils” and was immediately taken with them. I think you will be, too.

nurse ghost daughter bus by Ray Craig

nurse ghost daughter bus by Ray Craig

egg nurse by Ray Craig

egg nurse by Ray Craig

ghost egg sits at 8 by Ray Craig

ghost egg sits at 8 by Ray Craig

sits at by Ray Craig

sits at by Ray Craig

at too bus at 8 by Ray Craig

at too bus at 8 by Ray Craig

Hope you enjoyed this Dada poetry review.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

 

 

 

 

Contemporary Dada Centennial Feature: Charlie Holt

Keith Chambers (Amalgamated Confusion) with Charlie Holt A

On the first Friday of each month, I’ve decided to feature the work of a current dadaist. Neo-dadaists, Retro-dadists, whatever they’re calling themselves today, although the dada isn’t as pure as it was a hundred years ago, their work is just as fresh and relevent.

Keith Chambers (Amalgamated Confusion) with Charlie Holt B

This month’s featured artist is Charlie Holt. If his work is familiar, you may have seen a few of his collaborative pieces in previous Friday dada posts. Charlie plays well with others. By that, I mean he is oft inspired to build upon the work of another and when he does, it works well. As is the case in the collaborative pieces with Keith Chambers, pictured above.

Charlie Holt I

Charlie Holt II

Pictured below is a piece from a new series that Charlie is working on. He says about the piece, “Skirmishes with words and a borrowed image part of a new series.”

Charlie Holt III

Whispers of dada….

Whispers of dada - Charlie Holt

Aadadadot….

Aadadadot - Charlie Holt

Hope you enjoyed this look at the work of Charlie Holt.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again.

A Look at Dada Poetry

Fridays have not been good for Dada. We are lucky to get this brief post up on Saturday, folks. Things have been busy, busy, busy at Piney Creek Acres this week.

A few weeks back, I issued a challenge to folks to try their hand at creating a Dada poem based a Tristan Tzara technique. I provided this link to MoMA’s Make Poetry with Chance instructions: http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/dada/word-play

Since then, I have located a few other links:

A good Tristan Tzara bio: http://www.poemhunter.com/tristan-tzara/biography/

And a few of Tristan’s poems: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-great-lament-of-my-obscurity-three/ AND http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/proclamation-without-pretension/ AND http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/vegetable-swallow/

Do consider trying your hand at a Dadaist poem. The newspaper cut-up suggestion by MoMA is merely one way of achieving the desired effect. I am currently working on one using only the words from a Scrabble game with a friend. Below, you’ll find a piece of redacted Dadaist poetry sent to me by Keith Chambers.

KeithChambersDADApoetry

Keith Chambers Redacted Dada Poem

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!