DAILY ART FIX: What was Dada Art?

Art world links which caught my eye…

Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q 1919 : Art

Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q”, 1919

(Apparently if you pronounce these letters in French, it’s a pun for “She Has a Hot Ass” )

This Art & Object article has this to say about the 20th century art movement, Dada:

Artists in this movement were largely anti-war, anti-bourgeois, and radically leftist. The work they made was designed to question society at large, which they believed was falling apart. They did not aim to make beautiful art but rather to make statements and start conversations.

In my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, I wrote on Dada as well:

The Dada artists may have been the first non-state funded propagandists. They were amateurs emphasizing ideological commitment over artistic achievement. Any gesture would do as long as it was said to advance the cause. By emphasizing doctrines of demolition instead of the skilled labor associated with traditional art forms, Dadaopened a Pandora’s box of truly questionable acts and objects being presented as art.

This wasn’t Modern art, pushing at the boundaries of expression towards a more enriching experience. These were acts of cynicism and nihilism, seeking negation, cultivating chaos and discord. The practitioners unilaterally claimed victory over the enduring standards of Western civilization; enough intellectual idiots bought into their hype to sustain it, and we’ve been dealing with the consequences ever since.

Read Art & Object – What was Dada Art?

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RICHARD BLEDSOE is a visual story teller; a painter of fables and parables. He received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Richard has been an exhibiting artist for over 25 years, in both the United States and internationally. He lives and paints happily in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife Michele and cat Motorhead. He is the author of Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization.

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I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

Learn more About My Art: Visionary Experience

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.

Remodernism Video: BEFORE THERE WAS FAKE NEWS, THERE WAS FAKE ART

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Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

ARTISTS: Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning in Arizona

max-ernst-and-dorothea-tanning-at-sedona-arizona-taken-by-lee-miller-1946

Playing with Perception:

Surrealist Artists Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning in Sedona, Arizona

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“Painting is not for me either decorative amusement, or the plastic invention of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation.”
– Max Ernst

In the late 1930s and early 1940s there was a mass exodus of artists out of Europe, fleeing expanding Nazi power. Many came to America and settled in New York City, and went no further. They kept aloof from the local art scene and showed little interest in learning anything about their host country.

Surrealism was the dominant movement at the time, and most of the leading figures were present; they spent their time playing cruel parlor games, complaining about their exile and marking time until the war was over and they could return to true civilization on the Continent.

One notable exception was the German Dada artist Max Ernst. After the Allied victory he didn’t go home-he headed west to Arizona.

Ernst had lived a stormy bohemian life. After serving in the German military during the First World War, Ernst had helped found the Cologne Dada group. He worked with many experimental techniques, and became one of the earliest visual artists associated with the Surrealists, which had been a mainly literary movement.

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A French Nickname for “Hobby Horse”: Dada Artist Max Ernst

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In Paris Ernst met the French poet Paul Eluard, and his Russian wife Gala. This relationship grew into a longstanding passionate ménage a trios. The wealthy Eluard helped Ernst get out of Germany by letting him use his passport. Ernst lived with them in their Paris home, covering the walls with murals. The three traveled as far away as Saigon together.

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Threesome: Max, Gala and Paul 

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After this trip Ernst moved out on his own, and within a few years the Eluards marriage ended. Gala went on to become Salvador Dali’s wife and muse, and Ernst and Eluard stayed friends for the rest of theirs lives.

As World War II began, Ernst’s position was becoming less stable. As a German with ties to the radical Surrealists, Ernst was arrested by the French as a hostile alien. The well-connected Eluard managed to get him released, but after France fell, Ernst was in jeopardy again, pursued by the Gestapo.

Ernst had been one of the artists singled out by Hitler’s Degenerate Arts exhibit, and he was in danger of being arrested. He fled first to the south of France, where he was taken in by the American heiress and collector Peggy Guggenheim. A romance bloomed between them, and Guggenheim took Ernst with her back to America. As the United States entered the war, they got married-“I did not like the idea of living in sin with an enemy alien,” Peggy joked.

This marriage also did not last, and in 1946 Ernst was married again for the final time, to the brilliant American Surrealist painter Dorothea Tanning. They fell in love when Ernst came to her studio to see her painting “The Birthday,” then stayed for a game of chess.

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Dorothea Tanning “The Birthday”

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While traveling across country to California, the couple drove through Arizona, and Ernst was amazed to find himself in a rugged landscape that could have come out of visionary world he painted.

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Max Ernst “The Entire City”

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The couple ended up moving to remote Sedona, Arizona, where they remained for the next seven years. Ernst said Paris and Sedona were “the only two places in the world that I would want to live.” Sedona was incredibly isolated at the time, very different from the upscale resort community it has become. Ernst built a cabin for a home, and they continued to paint.

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A Cabin in the Mountains

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Still Playing Chess

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Influenced by the Hopi Indian culture he encountered, his work came to show new geometric forms. He used cast concrete and found objects to make sculpture that showed Native American elements. Ernst also used his time in Sedona to write his manifesto, “Beyond Painting.”

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Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning evoke the spirit of the land

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During these years Ernst traveled extensively, which led to complications regarding his US citizenship. In 1953 Ernst and Tanning moved to France, where they lived together until his death in 1976.

Dorothea Tanning died in New York on January 31, 2012. She was 101 years old.

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“Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now.”

-Dorothea Tanning

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Dorothea Tanning in her Sedona studio