Monday Morning Mail Art Call: Raoul Hausmann

One of the most intriguing mail art calls I’ve found in some time, the Raoul Hausmann Anniversary Project’s theme is A Kingdom for Dada.

portrait Raoul Hausmann

You might have guessed that Raoul was a dadaist in his time. Austrian born, he moved to Germany with his family at the age of fourteen. He co-founded Club Dada in Berlin and was involved for a time with Hanna Hoch, another prominent dadaist of the movement. You can read more about him here: http://www.dada-companion.com/hausmann/ and here: http://www.artnewsnviews.com/view-article.php?article=raoul-hausmann-the-dadaist-who-redefined-the-idea-of-protests&iid=33&articleid=980

Please note that the deadline for this one is fast approaching… June 30, 2017.

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!

 

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.

Dada Celebrations

Time got away from me… it’s already Saturday. So much for Friday Dada posts, huh? LoL! I figured that you wouldn’t hold it against me if you knew that I’d spent all of Friday with the cutest guy in the world…

DSC_0543

This week, we’re taking a look at Dada 100th anniversary celebrations far and wide.

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In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Minne Dada will take place August 11th thru the 14th. I found this post via Michael Jacobson on facebook. He says this will be, “A Summer Festival, and celebration of 100 years of Dada, here in Minneapolis! Film, poetry, noise, etc. More info coming soon. This party is organized by Tom Cassidy AKA Musicmaster. Here is Tom’s email for more info: tom.cassidy@mmha.com” I sincerely hope that those of you in the Minneapolis area will consider taking part.

Via Jackie Haynes on facebook, I learned of this event in Milan, Italy…

12819421_10153900100412394_3551614920903793127_o

She says, “Italian Dada action via our correspondent in Zurich www.dadamt.ch

In Dortmund, Germany, folks are gearing up for the Dadado100.

12823416_194079937621813_1608930982335473019_o

Taken from the Dada 100 blog, the following is a link to a comprehensive list of current and upcoming Dada exhibitions celebrating 100 years of Dada… https://dada100dotorg1.wordpress.com/dada-events/

As you might expect, more than a few pieces of Dada art have been coming my way for publication here on Dada Fridays. Below, you will find one of them, followed by a throwback Dada piece. Both pieces are mail art.

DadaCreep

Postcard from Linda French in response to Keith Chambers’ “Dada is self-aware” postcard.

MSSlaneDADAfront

MSSlaneDADAback

MSSlaneDADAinsidefront

MSSlaneDADAInsideopen

That’s it for this week. Next week, we’ll be taking a look at Dada poetry.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

 

 

 

Dada: American Style

Linda French - postcard Dada and Fluxus are only somewhat

Postcard for Keith Chambers, by Linda French, 2016

Dada hit the New York scene in 1915 and largely, it stayed there for eight short years. Why leave? Why New York? Who were the New York Dadaists? What was their angle? What did they hope to accomplish?

Keith Chambers (Amalgamated Confusion) with Charlie Holt A

Keith Chambers (Amalgamated Confusion) with Charlie Holt (A)

This week, I challenge you to dig in, to read about Dada in New York. I could conceivably write a fresh piece from my perspective, but I feel that there are several good sources online that can acquaint you with the basics and guide you on to further information, should you be so curious. I present you with three such links to start you off.

Keith Chambers (Amalgamated Confusion) with Charlie Holt B

Keith Chambers (Amalgamated Confusion) with Charlie Holt (B)

Every search will turn up something from wikipedia, from the mundane to the obscure. I’m not its biggest fan, but it’s a place to get generalities, a good starting point, if you will.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Dada

Dada Art has an extensive website devoted to Dada. I especially appreciate its page of Dada links, all which are quality references.

http://www.dadart.com/dadaism/dada/023-dada-newyork.html

If you want to learn anything about modern art whatsoever, MoMA, is definitely the way to go. Factual and yet, interesting.

http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/dada

Denise Woodward - Dada Dreams of Elvis Hair

ATC for Keith Chambers, by Denise Woodward – Dada Dreams of Elvis Hair 2016

In closing, I’d like to thank Keith Chambers for the use of his images, including the collaborations with Charlie Holt, and those sent to him in recent weeks. Thanks to Charlie Holt, Linda French and Denise Woodward also.

May you all take time to learn a little bit about the origins of Dada in New York and may you connect with your inner Dada.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

Dada: The Celebration Continues 2-19

Last week we touched on what Dada is and I invited you to create your own Dadaist poetry and exchange it with me.

This week, I’d like to expand a little on Dada, sharing a bit about two key women in the Dadaist movement.

Before I do, I’d like to share a piece of Dada mail I received this week. Jude Weirmeir is a very active mail artist whose prolific work is a delight to behold. It is quirky, whimsical, musical and highly entertaining. The things I’ve received from San Diego, California in his name are some of the most treasured pieces in my archives. This one is no exception. It is a celebration of 100 years of Dada.

Jude Weirmeir Dada 100 Years (front)

Jude Weirmeir Dada 100 Years (front)

Jude Weirmeir Dada 100 Years (back)

Jude Weirmeir Dada 100 Years (back)

It must be said that I swooned over the Dada stamps on the back side of this envie. And they gave me the idea for this post.

One of Jude’s rubber stamps depicts “Emmy Hennings, 1st Dada Donor.” Emmy was the wife of Hugo Ball. She gave herself over to a life of Dada from the moment they met in 1913. She had been a published poet and performer with left-wing leanings, so this transition was a natural progression. She and Hugo were founding members of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland and she was known as the “shining star of the Voltaire.” I strongly encourage you to learn more about Emmy and her poetry and performance art, though I will say that not much of her work can be found independently of Hugo Ball. They were inseparable and their work was codependent.

Another of Jude’s rubber stamps shows the silhouette of Hannah Höch. She was the most prominent female member and contributor to the Dada movement in Berlin, Germany. Her humble beginnings in fashion and textile were short-lived and she is more widely known for her social, feminist commentary via photo montage and collage. She felt strongly her position of being on the outside, looking in, the only woman in a largely male group of Dadaists who exuded their gender superiority. The chauvinist group included Raoul Hausmann, Georg Schrimpf, Johannes Baader and Hans Richter. In response, a good deal of her work addressed this. Her collage style was more harmonious and cohesive than her male counterparts, another reason they discounted her work. Her art was offensive to the Nazi regime and was included under the “degenerative art” label. She led a very quiet and secluded existence during World War II and her art thereafter did not achieve the acclaim it had before the war. In January thru March of 2014, a comprehensive collection of her work was exhibited at The Whitechapel Gallery, London. I would have loved to have been present at that exhibit! It must be said that I consider Hannah to be the Mother of Modern Collage. One needs only to view images of her work to see how she paved the way for much of what we, as modern day collage artists, do. Once again, I urge you to learn more about Hannah and her work. There are lots of excellent links to be found online, as well as images of her work. Start with the link below. You’ll be glad you did.

http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/29/704

If you’re at all like me, you’ll have developed an insatiable curiosity for the people and concepts that we have barely touched upon. Go forth, feed that curiosity and expand your knowledge of Dada and its central characters. Celebrate the accomplishments of those who have come before.

In the tradition of Hannah Höch, I challenge you to create a Dadaist collage with a central theme of great social or economic import to you. Look to the headlines of the day, if you need inspiration. You can share it via social media using the hashtags (#)Dadawatch and (#)MyDada. If you send it to me at The Studio at Piney Creek Acres as mail art, I will send one to you in kind.

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

 

Dadaism: Celebrating 100 years

As of February 5, 2016, Dada is officially 100 years old.

Ask the average person what Dada is and you’ll usually get a variety of silly answers, none of them correct. And yet, Dadaism affects the world we live in. I will even go so far as to say that were it not for Dada and it’s founding fathers, our modern world would be very different indeed.

Now, ask the same people about avant-garde and you may get some discussion going. Why? People more readily associate that french term with the arts. They may even talk of experimental arts or radical arts when avant-garde is the topic.

Why the difference? To understand that, let’s give you a little background on Dada.

Wikipedia defines Dada as:

Dada (/ˈdɑːdɑː/) or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century. Dada in Zürich, Switzerland, began in 1916 at Cabaret Voltaire, spreading to Berlin shortly thereafter, but the height of New York Dada was the year before, in 1915.[1] The term anti-art, a precursor to Dada, was coined by Marcel Duchamp around 1913 when he created his first readymades.[2] Dada, in addition to being anti-war, had political affinities with the radical left and was also anti-bourgeois.[3]

DadaSelfAware

Dada mail art from Amalgamated Confusion

Does that help you to understand what Dada is? Or does it pose more questions than answers. I hope it is the latter because it is only when we ask the questions that we learn. What is the Cabaret Voltaire? Why does the height of New York Dada predate European Dada? Who is Marcel Duchamp and what are readymades? I strongly encourage you to dip into the subject, to learn and to answer your own questions.

For our purposes, it is enough to know that Dada was an avant-garde art movement whose roots sprang forth about the time of the first world war. It has long been the norm for artists of all kinds to voice their opposition to politics and other topics through art. A cartoonist mocking a politician in today’s society is acceptable and folks from all walks of life read and laugh and, in the case of internet, pass them on and share the message. But think about an age when it was illegal to go against the political powers that be, when one could be thrown in jail for speaking out. Artists were creative in their effort to convey their message to like-minded individuals without alerting the authorities. That was the root of Dada.

Artists of all kinds were Dadaists. Playwrights, painters, poets and writers, performance artists… the list goes on. Some of them were more widely known than others, but that made their contributions no less valuable.

Once a week, for the remainder of the year, I am going to post a bit of Dada history for your enjoyment and perusal. My hope is that you will be intrigued and yearn to learn more. Ultimately, I would love to see more than a few of you try your hand at Dada.

Recently, I challenged a fellow artist to create a Dadist poem. I told her that if she was willing, I would create one and we could exchange them. The detailed instructions I provided for her (and posted for you below) were taken from MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) here: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/dada/word-play

Make Poetry with Chance

In 1920, one of the founding members of Dada, Tristan Tzara, wrote instructions for making a Dada poem, leaving the responsibility of selecting words and communicating ideas up to chance rather than the artist. Here are Tzara’s instructions:

TO MAKE A DADAIST POEM
Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are—an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.

Follow Tzara’s instructions to make your own Dadaist poems from one or two paragraphs of a newspaper article. Write down three poems composed with this method. Read them aloud and reflect on the following: What are your favorite or least favorite word combinations? What is the effect of reading words that have been put together without logic?

***

If that sounds like something you might wish to try, please do! Anyone who sends a completed Dadaist poem to me between now and the end of 2016 will receive one in kind. Send all Dadaist poetry to: The Studio at Piney Creek Acres, attn. Lynn Radford, 107 Marigold Lane, New Brighton, PA 15066

In addition, if you create a Dadaist poem and share it on social media, please include the hashtags (#) Dadawatch and (#) MyDada so that other artists and modern day Dadaists can find your work as we celebrate 100 years of Dada.

If you are interested in reading a bit about Tristan Tzara this is a good place to start: http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/dada/Tristan-Tzara.html

Other challenges will be issued throughout the year, so check back every Friday for more Dada!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!