Hannah Höch, "Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Beer Belly of the Weimar Republic, Berlin

Hannah Höch, "Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Beer Belly of the Weimar Republic, Berlin
Hannah Höch, "Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Beer Belly of the Weimar Republic," Berlin

Saturday, February 7, 2015

2/7 Expressionism, Dadaism, "New Objectivity"


Welcome everyone. Like I said in the introduction and the syllabus this website will be where the class lectures are posted. From here on, students should try to have all the readings and assignments done before the lecture. 




In the last class, I explained the basic history of the term nihilism and some German history up to World War I which began on July 28, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918, this date is now commemorated as Veterans Day in the U.S. The main part of this course, however, we will be looking at the period of time roughly in between World War I and World War II (1918-1939), although we will talk about events during both of these wars as well. The idea being that since these wars are generally considered to be the two most destructive and cataclysmic events in history, the period of time in between these two events might shed some light on these wars themselves, and might reveal something about humanity in general. How did people react to the end of the first world war which left 8 million people dead, and over 20 million wounded? What forces pushed the world into a second war, even more deadly than the first, only twenty years later? These are two questions to keep in mind as we approach all of the topics of the class. 

Nihilism is both cause and effect of these events, what are the ways in which nihilism shows itself? In other words, rather than an abstract, philosophical concept you define in a dictionary or encyclopedia, what are the concrete manifestations in which this idea takes shape. One key area is in art, so for the first part of the course we will be looking at different artistic and cultural objectifications of nihilism. In this class we will be discussing several styles of painting: naturalism, impressionism, expressionism, dadaism, and "new objectivity," although we will spend most of out time discussing the latter three it is important to understand what came before these styles as well.


Around the turn of the 20th century, a new distinctly German school of art, Expressionism, was developing and gaining attention.  French artists had dominated the 19th century, but now as if to mirror to rise of Germany as an imperial power, its art and culture were beginning to develop and gain more of an influence in the world.


The term "expressionism" is meant to refer to the artist's expression of their soul in the painting. This is contrast to artistic schools which favor realism and naturalistic depictions of art. Ironically, the development of photography in the late 19th century made the demand for naturalistic depictions of art somewhat obsolete, thus in a sense, freeing artists to pursue other means of using color and line (the foundations of painting). 


For example, the influence of photograph-like "naturalism" is evident in the work of 19th century painters like Édouard Manet (1832-1883).


"The Spanish Singer," Manet, 1860

"Still Life with Melons and Peaches," Manet, 1866
"Boating," Manet, 1874
"Still Life, Lilacs and Roses," Manet, 1883
 Here you can see the influence of both "naturalistic" looking portraits, and the impressionist style that experiments more with color, made most famous by Claude Monet (1840-1926).


"Impression, Sunrise," Claude Monet, 1872
"San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk," Monet, 1908-12

In a sense, expressionism is itself a transitional stage between art from the 19th century and abstract art of the 20th century, which developed out of expressionism.
"No. 5, 1948" Jackson Pollock, 1950

 The roots of expressionism are seen in artists, sometimes called "post-impressionists" like Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) and Edvard Munch (1863-1944). They were a strong influence on younger expressionist artists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938). What they all had in common is they were known for their self-expression over formalism and photographic realism and the visual style of expressionism: dreamy, moody, somber. Expressionists also wanted to draw on local customs and traditions, and helped popularize "woodcuts," portraits that are literally carved out of wood as a way of connecting with "folk traditions." In other words expressionist art in many ways represents the "Dionysian" influence that Nietzsche identified in Greek culture, and the classically influenced art of naturalism represents the "Apollonian" influence.

Post-Impressionism: Van Gogh & Munch
"The Starry Night," Vincent van Gogh, 1889


"The Scream," Edvard Munch, 1893
"Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche," Edvard Munch, 1906
Expressionism can be further broken down into two schools: Die Brücke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)

Expressionists (Die Brücke): Kirchner, Nolde
"Davos under Snow," Ernst Ludwig Kirchner,  1923
"The Prophet," Emil Nolde, 1912 [woodcut]

Expressionists (Der Blaue Reiter): Kandinsky, Marc



"Der Blaue Reiter," Wassily Kandinsky, 1903
"Blue Horse I," Franz Marc, 1911

Kandinsky (1866-1944) would later go on to paint the some of the first truly abstract paintings and later taught at the German Bauhaus school along with Paul Klee (1879-1940), who was also loosely affiliated with Der Blaue Reiter.



"Points," Wassily Kandinsky, 1920

"Red Balloon," Paul Klee, 1922

Artistic movements though do not exist in isolation from social forces but are connected to them as moments in a larger social process. Although technological developments like the invention of photography may have caused changes in the visual style of painting, the development of photography itself was one aspect of all the overall direction of "modernization" that many European states were still going through in the later 19th century.  Modernization can be understood as the process of moving from a more rural and agricultural society to a larger and more industrial and urbanized society. In other words, art reflects the social conditions in which it is produced. The isolation in expressionist art suggests a sense of isolation felt by individuals in modern society. The trauma of the war however created an entirely new form of artistic expression, known as Dadaism.



"Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Beer-Belly of the Weimar Republic," Hannah Höch,  
1919
"Republican Automatons," George Grosz, 1920



"ABCD," Raoul Hausmann, 1923-24
"Pillars of Society," George Grosz, 1926
"Adolf the Superman: Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk," John Heartfield, 1932
"People," George Grosz, 1919

"The Hand has Five Fingers," John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld),  1928

"Dada Conquerors," Raoul Hausmann,  1920



"Trench Warfare," Otto Dix, 1932


The word "dada" is supposed to be a nonsense word, a word with no meaning. Dadaism as an artistic movement is supposed to play up the meaninglessness and absurdity of life–key nihilist themes. Although the movement itself began in Switzerland shortly after the beginning of World War I in 1914, different currents of "dada" sprang up throughout Europe and America. The movement became famous for its use of "photomontage" as a way of creating a fragmented experience of art, that they believed reflected modern experience and for its "anti-art" stance in favor of depictions of unpleasant even ugly pictures. In Germany, the dada movement was more consciously political than other dada movements.
Dadaism as a movement emerged out of the profound disillusionment that followed the outbreak of the first world war. It is hard to imagine but for at least 20 years before the actual outbreak of war, the threat of war was almost constant.  In this context, Nietzsche's nihilistic writings about the decline of culture in modern civilization found favor, and even more so during and after World War I. However his "affirmation of life" also found favor as much as his critique of modern morals, especially the idea that cultural elites like artists can create new values–this especially had an influence on basically every German artist who came around after Nietzsche. However, Nietzsche's understanding of the socio-economic context in which he was living in was limited, although he had some understanding that the inner contradictions of European culture and civilization was causing it to collapse in on itself.

What were some of these contradictions? For one, the system of imperialism that made up the economic foundation of many European powers like Great Britain and France was beginning to fall apart. Besides being at odds with the professed liberal values of these nations, the exploitative imperialist system helped create nationalist movements in many of the colonized European territories like in China, India and most directly related to the war itself in the Balkan regions once controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire that today comprise states like Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo–a region that is still plagued by ethnic conflict in the present. Maintaining possession of these territories was becoming increasingly more costly due to increased resistance from the local population, as well as increasing competition between the European powers themselves for control over these territories. A big reason why World War I was in fact a world war was because the European powers fought each other in Europe and in their overseas territories that spanned large parts of Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands (South America was not really in the European sphere of power).
This is all more or less true about all the major European powers, but two things distinguish Germany from the other powers: 1) unlike Great Britain and France Germany developed much later. and 2) Germany had the largest and most advanced socialist movement and party in Europe. The second point especially is important to understanding how the Dada movement developed in Germany. Socialism also developed out of the French Revolution, but by far the most influential socialist thinker was Karl Marx


The movement really became a force to be reckoned with in German politics with the founding of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and associated trade unions. The movement focused primarily on improving the economic conditions of workers and winning political representation in parliament. Despite having a powerful party with strong popular support, the SPD threw its support in with the German imperialist government and endorsed the war and the German cause in 1914. 


So to bring this back to Dadaism and how it relates to Nihilism. Dada was an artistic movement that self-consciously styled itself as "anti-art" or art that defies conventional notions of artistic beauty and correctness. Dadaists spoke of the "untruth of style" arguing that stylized artistic products only mask the suffering of the oppressed. If life is ugly then art should be ugly too, they thought. In Germany especially, the dada movement that developed there sought to break away from:
 1) German militarism and nationalism; 

2) German bourgeoisie (middle class) which had done little to stop the outbreak of war and in some cases sought to profit from it; 

3) German socialism which had comprised itself and betrayed its principles. 

The artists that made up this movement found very little if anything in contemporary society worth preserving or saving. Their view was that German society was corrupt and built on exploitation and oppression and needed to be negated or destroyed before anything new could be created. Their art, or anti-art, then was to help accomplish this, their aim was to help the bases of German society by destroying the culture, that is by ridiculing it so much that people lose respect and their sense of obedience to authorities, and to expose people to shocking and even grotesque images in order to force an awareness of the ugly side of life.
The sometimes shocking nature of dada is easier to understand if you understand how thoroughly disgusted they are with German society, especially after their hopes had been crushed by the 'betrayal' of the socialist party but in general with their disgust with the imperialist system Germany (and Europe) rested on.

 Another reason is that unlike the other European powers which had to suffer the consequences of the war, the full responsibility for the war was laid at Germany's doorstep. The peace treaty that ended the war, the Treaty of Versailles, made it a requirement that Germany had to accept full responsibility for the war, could not produce things for military use, and to pay off the war debts of the other nations. Obviously something like this had devastating consequences for the German economy, it led to high unemployment, and high inflation, so much that German money, the "deutsche mark" was practically valueless, as this picture shows: the woman is actually burning German money because it was cheaper to do that than to use it to buy wood or coal. Inflation is when prices increase dramatically or “inflate”. There are many causes of inflation, one is when the value of the money decreases. The lower value of the money causes the price of goods to increase.
circa 1923
This also helped create one of the myths that Nazi's used when they seized power, the "stabbed in the back" myth which stated that Germany didn't really lose the war, only their weak civilian authorities had comprised themselves. Throughout the 20s, art like this was in vogue in Germany, even though there was increased competition from newer media like film. However after 1933 when the Nazis began to crack down many artists were persecuted and many fled the country.

Dadaism was in part a reaction against the still high artistic standards of expressionism. Dadaism then sought to 'negate' or to 'cancel out' expressionism by becoming the opposite of expressionist art. 


Despite being almost 100 years old a lot of the visual themes in Dada continue to be reused over and over again. For example take this video by the band Franz Ferdinand (ironically named after an Austrian heir to the Austrian empire whose assassination sparked the beginning of World War I). This was released in 2004 however if you look carefully it seems that the video copies many Dada styles. Cultural critics, many who grew up during the period we are looking at, argued that constant repetition and recycling of ideas endlessly repeating itself creates the impression in people that society as it is is unchangeable and permanent. They also argue that mass produced culture industries take away whatever critical or revolutionary message art has turning it into a consumable commodity instead. 









As I said in our last class, the expressionist painting style is still popular today. One of the most well-known of the "neoexpressionists" was Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988).


"Untitled (Fallen Angel)," Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981



"Untitled (Skull)," Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984

In contemporary art, there is a school which defines itself as "anti-anti-art" and is known as "Stuckism." The anti-anti-art approach, also known as "remodernization" seeks to re-infuse spiritual values in art, which they claim is now lacking in so-called "ugly art."


"The Drinker," Billy Childish, 1996



"Sir Nicholas Serota Makes an Acquisitions Decision," Charles Thomson, 2000
"If We Could Undo Psychosis I," Jane Kelly, 2000


Dadaism and the next major artistic movement combines features of both expressionism and dadaism in Germany: Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). You will notice that even though I speak of expressionism, dadaism, and new objectivity separately, in reality there is overlap between all three. Once a certain cultural form has taken shape and is produced, it continues to be produced in most cases, even if newer forms have developed to "replace" the older form. Also, all of these art forms had influence in artistic forms besides painting like sculpture or even architecture. Later we will look at a few films that are "expressionist cinema," which also had a strong influence on Hollywood films.

As its name suggests, New Objectivity, this style distanced itself from the "emotionalism" of expressionism while keeping the idea that art should reflect a more in depth experience, while also retaining the dadaist's emphasis on breaking away from the traditions of the past (expressionists want to reconnect with traditions) but also rejecting the calculated ugliness and offensiveness of dadaism. The style of New Objectivity however was not confined to only painting. Various art forms tried to incorporate this unsteady synthesis between expressionist and dadaist ideas. The architectural style known as "Bauhaus" (literally "house of construction") was a product of this period as well. Guided by the idea that "less is more," Bauhaus architecture sought to create a modern experience of art that would integrate all the experiences of a person's life in the modern world.


Bauhaus School, Walter Gropius, 1925-26, Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany,

New Objectivity painting combined elements from both. Some artists like George Grosz were considered to be a part of both schools. By objectivity, the emphasis was to display things "as they really are" instead of the self-expressions of expressionism, but it also moved away from the more radical "anti-art" stance of dadaism and returned to somewhat more conventional depictions of form and figure. Historians usually divide the New Objectivity into two camps: the verists, (meaning the true, as in verify) and the classicists.
"The Eclipse of the Sun,George Grosz, 1926


"Der rote Gürtel," (The Red Belt), Alexander Kanoldt,  1929


With the assumption of power by the Nazis in 1933 all forms are not approved by the Nazi party were banned including expressionism, dadaism, and the new objectivity. Almost all forms of modern art were labelled Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) and were considered "un-German" or Jewish, in favor of what they considered "romantic realism" expressing so-called classical Germany values.
"Degenerate Art" Exhibition, 1937; Note the word "Dada" in the background


Assignment DUE 2/14:   1) choose a passage from the "Dada Manifesto" by Hugo Ball and 2) choose one of the artists from either expressionism, dadaism, or new objectivity. You can ask me if you are not sure which artist belongs to which movement. Use the Modern Art Timeline link on the blog for assistance. Choose three examples from one or more of the artists, and try to depict what is going on in the piece, and what meaning it may have, especially drawing attention to how nihilistic themes show up in these pieces or how it reflects social conditions.

For written assignments choose a specific piece of the text that you want to quote. Write out the quote. Then interpret the quote, what is the meaning of this quote, why is the author saying this? Then explain why you chose this quote, do you agree or disagree? Did the quote make you think about something or challenge you? Does it relate to anything going on in the present?
For the picture assignment, post the picture on your blog (contact me if you have problems) besides that, please include: 
1) the name of the artist and a little summary on their life;

2) the title of the piece and its date;  

3) your interpretation of the piece, try to describe in as much detail as you can the physical appearance of the piece (how does it look, what kind of techniques are being used, what kind of colors, light etc are used, what kind of actions are going on) and the meaning of the piece what is it trying to say, what themes does it address, especially paying attention to nihilistic themes.
From this point on, you should complete one of these “reflections” on the course readings every class. You also should respond to your fellow student's postings completing at least two responses per class. You can post them as comments under the student's post. When leaving a post make sure you hit "subscribe by e-mail" so you will get notifications if someone else comments on what you say. You can leave comments on this page as well or send e-mails to me directly.




58 comments:

  1. Dadaists spoke of the "untruth of style" arguing that stylized artistic products only mask the suffering of the oppressed. If life is ugly then art should be ugly too". What i think that the author is saying that Impressionism hides the truth about whats happening in the world and dadaist unmasked the lies and shed light on the truth.
    I choose this quote because art is a form of expression and as artistes they can choose to express themselves however they want to. While I understand what the Dadaist is saying i cant totally agree with its interpretation, not because the world was at war during that time period, doesn't mean that the art has to reflect the negative. Paintings can give hope and tell meaning,they can tell us that life can get better and life can be beautiful and joyous. Life is ugly doesn't mean art has to be also.
    The quote didn't challenge me I would say, however I can parallel it to what is happening in the world today with ISIS. Even though Isis is at war with the US and many innocent people have lost their lives as a result, doesn't mean life still isn't beautiful and that there's no hope for tomorrow. There has to be something that gives hope.

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    1. i am agree with you... however, the way they used art was to express what is going on in the society.. They reflect it through they painted

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    2. Understood. Thank you for your input.

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    3. The Dada Manifesto- " How can one get rid of everything that smacks of jounalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered moralistic" I believe what he was saying is that everything was not nice or right, but was shown as if it was. That was the problem, artist where not capturing the essence of what was going on, and if so they where not allowed to express it. Dada movement captured this by moving away from the norms of art ( considered anti- art because it did not reflect the truth, as did the art that came from this movement such as the work of George Grosz.
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  2. "The artists that made up this movement found very little if anything in contemporary society worth preserving or saving. Their view was that German society was corrupt and built on exploitation and oppression and needed to be negated or destroyed before anything new could be created." I see that the artists didn't value , accept, or appreciate what they saw in the contemporary society because of the foundation which were corruption, oppression, and exploitation. So before they could make any changes they needed to get rid of the culture that was already established.I dont know too much about the german society especially in the past. Their goal was to help the German society by changing the culture. This included changing the people's perception about the authorities so they could see the "ugly side of life" But I agree that there is a lot of oppression in societies. As far as people trying to change our view about authority and culture, I don't see too much in usa. The culture seems like its getting worse. There aren't many artists trying to change things. Look at Ferguson. Ppl are putting their foot down about certain (racial killing) issues but where are the cop now ?

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    2. You said people are "putting their foot down" but do you think the way they are going about it is effective, they have been doing that (protesting) since forever but where has that lead to? does two wrong make it right, because the protest aren't peaceful, innocent livelihood have been affected by the many looting. Do you think in order for the "culture" to change we have to be willing to change as well? I understand people losing faith in the justice system but why can't the protest be peaceful and violent free, why aren't we willing to shake the negative perception of our kind?do you think there will ever be a resolve? i don't especially if this is the way we go about it, yes it will make headlines and maybe a few changes happen here and there but then after it will be like "water under the bridge" it has been happening for so long and nothing worthwhile is ever done.

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    3. i am agree with you. They used art to complaint about the government because society was getting disintegrated. also, they created painted to put the authority down and by the way the authority lost the respect.. The painting are making fun of the authority in which reflect that it didn't do their job.

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    4. I understand your stance, but in my opinion art hides too much of the truth especially the unpleasant side so the artists nice it up with their word play and intricate use of their brushes. As a result, I support the Dada art to bring out the truth even if it's "ugly". This may create a lot of controversy and conflicts but in the end it is what really exist.

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    5. I like that you chose this quote. It is very sad to read but understanding that through a time of war their could be so many people left with such terrible views of their country. So with that said Dadaism was to bring about change like you said to the ugliness and things. Kind of makes the ugly art have much more meaning.

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    7. Kimberly you are 100% correct I don't think people are "putting their foot down" effectively but at this time and age I really don't think they care about the consequences for their actions because of the life they have had to deal with. I agree with u "This have been happening for so long and nothing has been happening".

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    8. nasrin nahar I agree with this . I think people always see their own way . and they think all people bad if they have a bad experience

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  3. "If life is ugly the art should be ugly too" Germany was in tough situation during that time period. Money was not worth much, there were hardly any jobs available and poverty was at its highest point. Artists at that time wanted to put out the reality of life through art. Before dadaism in Germany art was always about being beautiful and attractive however dadaism art was the opposite. I choose this quote because it speaks the truth, and completly agree with it. I would also say that the quote can relate with many things happening today in our society. Like, war, unemployment among other things.

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    1. I like your interpretation of the quote. I was thinkin along those lines as well but then I'm like naah... People needed some hope and that's what the Impressionism brought.

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    2. i like your idea.. i think the same way in the period of naturalism people were living with freedom and happy and after the war world 1, the period of dadaism brought frustration and doubt because people began to isolate.

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    3. "If life is ugly the art should be ugly too" as many of the painting shows the suffering of the artist throughout the world as they go through and witness suffering and death everyday.

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    4. As I discussed in my paper, art need to depict the true face of life and not pull a drape of what is the reality. The lines, colors, patterns and words artists skillfully incorporate in their work should portray a vivid picture of reality like the devastating state the world wars left in Germany so that society can understand the struggles of those days.

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  4. I am agree with the article. The pictures are windows that reflect what is around in our society. They are good sources of communication. During the period of impressionist in the picture “Boating,” Manet, 1874,the background was lighter.I can see that the people were relaxed and with less stress in the society and the day look peaceful. Also, in the picture of “Still Life with Melons and Peaches,” Manet, 1866,the color were green and yellow with a dark background. I think this represent that life is getting harder. However, in the period of Dadaism we can see a picture called “ Pillars of Society,” George Grosz, 1926 and picture of Republican Automatons,” George Grosz in which both background are between orange and red colors. These pictures represent the period of the War World I, where people were isolated from each others. The society was having a necessity of feeling secured and there were not interaction between individuals. The Dadaism was a movement who reflect what were happening political and in the society. The pictures showed that during that period a lot of unpleasant moments happened and disillusion. One quote that showed that art took an important role said, “If life is ugly then art should be ugly too”. Art was a strong voice because they used art to put the authority down and made the society to loss the respect they had. Art represented the happiness and joy during that period of times. If life was sad, then art should be sad, and if life was happy, then art should be happy. This is showed the impact that art created in the society.

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  5. Excerpt/Quote:
    "Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn't I find it? Why can't a tree be called Pluplusch, and Pluplubasch when it has been raining? The word, the word, the word outside your domain, your stuffiness, this laughable impotence, your stupendous smugness, outside all the parrotry of your self-evident limitedness. The word, gentlemen, is a public concern of the first importance." –Hugo Ball, Dada Manifesto

    Excerpt/Response:
    The excerpt begins with Hugo Ball's observation that for everything that we believe to exist, there is some word we may use to describe it. Dada, which has been deemed a nonsensical word with no singular meaning, is among these things. But Ball is talking about more than the word Dada, even as Dada proves to be the essence of the excerpt. When he asks why he should not find it or why he cannot use one word or another for a tree in varying states, his tone is rather rebellious and demanding of an answer. Who is to say that he or anyone else ought not to be free to use what words they will?

    When he decries the "domain, stuffness, laughable impotence, stupendous smugness, parrotry and limitedness" of the "your" who are the subject of his words, he is actively invoking his ability to create and recreate. This creative capacity and resulting anomalies are much of what we see in Dadaism and Expressionism. There is a drive to push beyond the stuffness and domain, the limitedness and mundane. Who cares, Ball might rhetorically ask, about the smugness and impotence of those who conform to rigid structures and might rebuke those who do not? Not he. Rather, Ball is devoted in his critique of affairs that one can argue are the very reason he feels so inclined to make this statement in the first place.

    When he states that the "word ... is a public concern of the first importance," he is urging his audience to go beyond limits and express themselves, whether it will be embraced or not. And perhaps more fundamentally, he is signaling the importance and ripeness of the moment, as well as the implications of Dadaism and everyone to whom it is relevant. Considering the trauma and disillusionment during this period, one may find little surprise that Ball advocates for this liberation so fiercely, albeit in a typical, rather ambiguous Dada fashion.

    Regarding my stance on the quote, the thoughts or challenges it elicits, and the relation I see to the present, there is much I could say [omitted here] ...

    Full Response and Link to Dada Manifesto on my blog posting:
    http://leh355germannihilism.blogspot.com/2014/09/introduction-expressionism-nihilism-and.html

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    1. I agree that the creative capacity is what we see in both Expressionalism and Dadaism. I like how you mentioned that he is pushing the audience to go above the limits and express themselves just as he is.

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  6. Sorry first time blogger doing a test:
    "Dadaism as a movement emerged out of the profound disillusionment that followed the outbreak of the First World War"

    I feel the author made such a quote to open the consciousness of individuals with the hope that they don't make hasty judgement calls, and be able to just sympathize with the circumstances one faced in this time.
    This author speaks about the movement to defend is heart felt credibility of Dadaism. Simply put people were in complete shock of the level of destruction caused by the war.
    Not only was human tolls high but there country was in ruins with the ripple effect being felt by innocent citizens who were voters of a war. One might say that Germany being an imperialistic country caused the catastrophe , hence, they should feel the effects and warrants imposed of them during singing of the Peace Treaty Versailles.
    Imagine being in a economic climate of turmoil with unemployment being so high, inflation out of control that people, instead of buying wood to burn , they burn currency instead and losing faith in a social movement party that instead of building wealth made a call for war too. How would you feel? These citizens felt broken and had loss of hope in government which should be for the people.
    The author is showing that Dadaism was there outlet. It is stated that " it reflects the social conditions in which it was produced". Dadaism was there reflective outlet. Yes the images were unnerving and ugly to ones who didn't endure that climate, but I feel at this point that it is better for them to express themselves through artwork either conventional realism or abstract forms such as Dadaism.
    In conclusion, I think that Dadaism as it's benefits, it help those to release there stresses rather than going out and executing people. Who are we to judge there artwork when we sit an doodle nonsense in times of high thoughts.

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  8. "Words emerge, shoulders of words, legs, arms, hands of words. Au, oi, uh. One shouldn't let too many words out. A line of poetry is a chance to get rid of all the filth that clings to this accursed language, as if put there by stockbrokers' hands, hands worn smooth by coins. I want the word where it ends and begins. Dada is the heart of words."

    I feel as if Hugo ball wanted to prove a point. He wanted the world to know and especially anyone else that the word "Dada" although it has not significant importance, it is important. It was simple. He loved the word. He felt as if anything else that will be siginificant to artist of this time another name than Dada it will be boring. He quotes "Words emerge, shoulders of words, legs, arms, hands of words. Au, oi, uh. One shouldn't let too many words out" as if Just a simple 4 letters will just create a movement. I felt as if many people in this time was destroyed inside emotionally and cognitively. Dada was born from a negative reaction in the result of the war. Da, Da meaning Yes, Yes. Hugo ball was very enticed towards the words. It was not socially accepted but it gave artist the power to let the world know the horrifying results of war. Also using sound poetry and imagery Artistic painting, it was a political movement. To give people a social democracy or Direct democracy towards their government who destroyed their home. I feel as if this is going on in the world right now. ISIS the Islamic state of Iraq is on the verge. They have been smudge bullied and spit on. I feel like in the news ISIS is like the new DADA. Just because they portray in the news they have no significant importance. People in this country or elsewhere care about ISIS. Just label them Terrorist. I feel that one day they will make ISIS a significant Importance and maybe artist and musician will give the world an Image of the Real Truth behind the Islamic State. It challenges my mind , my thoughts because DADA was a movement and ISIS is a movement. Promoting both in destructed world environments people in distress and cognitively and emotionally destroyed, Isis is promoted everywhere through internet and news. Its a headline and maybe DADA was a headline as well. I find it soo similar but lets see maybe I am wrong.

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    1. Your interpretation is brilliant and as a political science major, I am very much intrigued by your thoughts on the modern application to the situation in Iraq and regarding ISIS. It'd be interesting to learn what you see as being the truth behind the IS.

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    2. The suggestion to say Isis is a movement like Dadaism is very conflicting.
      Dadaism was an artistic movement in which people portrayed all their internal reflections on how they felt during the chaos which surrounded their lives war.
      Isis on the other hand seems to be a war movement. When peace resurfaces and people emerge into wanting to show what there experiences have been like, and use art as mode of that expression, probably their will be dadistic telltaleIf so, then we can draw a Dadaism connection.

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    3. Controversial much!!! But I like your thought process..... Thinking outside of the box, exactly what Philosophy is..

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    4. I feel like ISIS and DADA are two totally different things. I don't know too much about the ISIS situation but I have heard it mentioned in a pretty bad context. I've heard a lot of news about ISIS decapitating live people and video taping it and publicizing it as a message. I understand that DADA as a movement, was meant to show the true evil that exists in the world especially because of this nihilistic mentality. However DADA was expressed through art and because of the art I definitely see the way it was most likely drawing attention everywhere along side news about the war that amplified the theme of the art. I just don't see a connection with ISIS doing that considering they are actually harming people and the video that they have sent of the decapitations have gone viral on the internet.

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    5. ISIS it has its politics but as well they have been terrorized for many years. I feel as if they were at one point it was a Nihilism in Islam. Now ISIS is like the DADA for this century because it starts with movement then it will probably get the support from Art and Music. People need to think outside of the box. Do some research on ISIS Real research. They are a Rich group. Most of their weapons are from the United States. However , Mentally they were Nihilistic to their religion to their peace before all war over oil. Their home is in ruins, Destroyed by war. Now they have became a threat again because they are trying to show the real reason why they are doing the damage they are doing in the middle east. Because it is their home they have their right. On my blog I will put an image of DADAISM of our current time.

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  9. It is fair to say people truly suffered from the First World War and that is what brought about this Dada “meaningless” art. People wanted to stray away from everything that Germany now was and defy it, not just art but Germany as a whole. Creating this anti-art was a way to express that. To me it may not be considered “expressionalism” and come from the soul as expressionalism does, but it does show the feeling of the artists. It shows the hate and anger they feel, just not expressed so dramatically and with color.

    “The movement became famous for its use of "photomontage" as a way of creating a fragmented experience of art, that they believed reflected modern experience and for its "anti-art" stance in favor of depictions of unpleasant even ugly pictures. In Germany, the dada movement was more consciously political than other dada movements.” I picked this passage because it explains Dadaism exactly how I see it. Ugly art, yes. So oddly put together like a collage, with so much going on, it is the first thing that came to mind when looking at the pictures. I also picked this passage, because it is strange to me that in a time of them opposing the war and everything that followed, they seemed to take so much from the war and put it into their art. To me their art looks like propaganda, which is what I thought it was a first. It seems odd they would almost mimic it when they just went through such hard times.

    “How can one get rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, europeanised, enervated? By saying dada. Dada is the world soul, dada is the pawnshop. Dada is the world's best lily-milk soap. Dada Mr Rubiner, dada Mr Korrodi. Dada Mr Anastasius Lilienstein. In plain language: the hospitality of the Swiss is something to be profoundly appreciated. And in questions of aesthetics the key is quality.”

    In Hugo Ball’s Manifesto he is pretty much saying that although the word itself does not have much meaning the movement does. This movement will be everything, this movement will be a way to turn all that ugliness into something more. Also, to “rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right…” was through the Dadaism movement. Nothing was nice and right after the war, and the view that people had to go back to things being “nice and right” was not one lived through “dada.” You needed something different, something new, break away from what was before and express and defy as he is doing in his manifesto. “Each thing has a word,” everything has a name but not only that it’s what that name possess and carries, and the quality in which it is delivered. At the end of the passage I chose it says, “and in questions of aesthetics the key is quality.” Pretty much saying what I just said previously, the process in which Dadaism is delivered can make things beautiful again through quality of it, the cooperation and feeling about it that he has. This can relate to the world in any struggle really. There is always a different outlook and different approach to see things and do things.

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    1. I like how you summarize the excerpt you chose, commenting that "although the word itself does not have much meaning the movement does. This movement will be everything, this movement will be a way to turn all that ugliness into something more."

      It seems you found a way to convey what Ball may have been saying in his manifesto. In a separate piece of it, which I cited, Ball states that Dada "is a public concern of the first importance." I took some time analyzing the phrase, and put it into words, and eventually arrived at a satisfying answer. But your own interpretation, even when applied to a separate part, proves very fitting and telling.

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    2. great work Shari and LEH355ScottDavis

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  10. The term "expressionism" is meant to refer to the artist's expression of their soul in the painting.
    In my view art at that time wasn't just drawing a piece of object or composition of an object but rather to reflect one's inner feeling. With the use of colorful paints in expressionism artists were able to portray their thought and feelings of the world being filled with war. i think the author said gave saw expressionism was a great tool to criticize the government at that time when war and threats of war(s) were in the air and the government seemed to do what ever they thought was right and not listening to the what the people say. I like the authors interpretation of expressionism as it inspire me in a way that there are various ways to be noticed or express ones feelings other than vocally speaking. Drawing is a great tool to express one view. Most artist today still express themselves in our modern society. Colorful artistry drawings are being made in criticizing the government. Examples of such drawings are political cartoons of government officials in news papers and wall painting graffiti

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  11. Yulissa Garcia


    “Each thing has its word, but the word has become a thing by itself. Why shouldn't I find it?”
    The word “Dada” is not supposed to have a specific meaning. However, it defined and movement. Dadaism, as stated in the readings, was an art form against the art that was being made following World War I. It meant to show what was really happening in society, instead of creating beautiful paintings as if to mask what was really going on.
    Raoul Hausmann is an artist from Dadaism.
    To name some of the pieces he either created or edited are:
    • 'DER DADA NO.2' 1919 (magazine cover) This piece directly attacks Expressionism. It says: “The Expressionists are tired people who have turned their backs on nature and do not dare look the cruelty of the epoch in the face. They have forgotten how to be daring. Dada is daring per se, Dada exposes itself to the risk of its own death”. I believe it’s very clear that the goal of the Dadaist artists was to express the concerns of society at that time. They didn’t want to hide people’s suffering by painting pretty things. In this magazine cover the word DADA is posted in capital letter and big size font, there are what it seems cuts of article.

    • ‘The Spirit of Our Time', 1920 (assemblage) I found this one to be the most powerful of art forms explaining one of the issues Dadaists complained about. Here, Hausmann glues a series of objects such as a brass knob from a camera and a ruler to what seems to be a head of a wooden dummy. By attaching these objects to the outside of the head, he is sending the message that at the time, people weren’t able to do more than what was allowed for them to do. Their brains were blank, unable to do what was necessary to build a better Germany.
    George Groz is another Dadaist, responsible for 'The Pillars of Society' 1926 (oil on canvas). In this painting he shows members of the armed forces, politicians and the press. In his painting certain details give away that it is supposed to expose the corruption going on and the hypocrisy of these important people

    “Dada was an artistic movement that self-consciously styled itself as "anti-art" or art that defies conventional notions of artistic beauty and correctness”
    As I stated before, Dada meant to show what really was going on in the society. It meant to show the ugly truth. Artists demonstrated with pictures and paintings that the situation wasn't pretty, they were brave in not hiding or trying to mask reality. I chose this quote because honesty is a precious virtue, and the fact that at a time where people were afraid of expressing themselves, there were artists that stayed true to themselves, and demonstrated courage by making such pieces.

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    1. Hi Yulissa! I think another reason they called it anti-art was as a defense mechanism that was later on adopted as theme of Dadaism. So people that were creating these Dadaist theme art people considered ugly called it anti-art as to not be reject as an art form but accepted as a different unconventional form of art, almost reminds me of reverse psychology.

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  12. ESPRESSIONISM – VINCENT VAN GOGH
    Vincent Van Gogh was a very key figure in the world of expressionism or post impression as it was sometimes called. He played a great role in laying the foundation of modern art. A troubled man, he experienced many uncertainties and rejections in his early life, particularly where female love interests were concerned. Religion played a huge role in van Gogh´s life and many of his paintings carry religious undertones. Van Gogh did not experience great success during his lifetime, selling just one painting but after his death his work was revealed to the world and he is now regarded as one of the greatest artists that ever lived. One of his most precious and famous paintings was The Starry Night, 1889.
    The Starry night outlook generalize a feeling of isolation due to a long term illness. However, the bright yellow of the stars give rays of hope and ability to keep on dreaming to reach for the stars. The church steeple that seems to almost be touching the sky, stand out above the other smaller buildings and conveys some religious meaning. Also the cypress appears to unite the sky and the somber village. Van Gogh skillfully used line to portray the night scenes. The entire setting appears gloomy but still there is radiating light from the windows of the buildings, indicating a “silver lining even in dark clouds.”


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  13. EDVARD MUNCH
    Edvard Munch was born in Norway in 1863, and spent two decades from 1889 to 1909 working in France and Germany until his death in 1944. During his lifetime of work, he made one of the most significant and enduring contribution to the development of Modernism in the twentieth century. In his themes and subject matter, Munch was profoundly original and radical. He is one of the handful of artists who have shaped our understanding of human experience and transformed the ways in which it might be visually expressed. In my opinion, Munch incorporated the Nihilistic trend in his art. The Scream of 1893, is one of his most dynamic piece which came to him while he was looking down over the Norwegian landscape.
    The Scream is set in a typical evening by a waterside. People are seen taking a walk in a background, may be two friends. And in the other direction, one person seem to be engulfed in isolation and fear. The “red” sky and the “bluish black” fjord use by Munch express the emotional state that triggered the scream. The Scream seem to related to the decidedly ugly, hideous, sounds of living being undergoing both physical and emotional crisis in today’s society. There are times in our lives when we just want to scream on top of our voices just to get a sigh of relief. The Screams expresses this reality of the ugly side of life .

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  14. JOHN HEARTFIELD – DADAISM
    John Heartfield was one of the most recognized Dadaism artists during its time. He was born June 19th, 1891 in Berlin. He didn’t paint many real paintings, but mostly photomontage pictures that were in a lot of German magazines and cover books. His works often related to Hitler and other Nazi symbols like swastikas. Some of his popular work include: “The hand has 5 fingers” and ‘Hurrah! Die Butter 1st Alle” Heartfield never stopped painting until he died on April, 1968.
    The Hand has 5 fingers (1928) first of all, represent the 5 numbers. Having all five fingers on one hand can simply mean you can defend yourself from the enemy if there is unity just like the 5 fingers which can form a fist in self-defense. Also research shows that Heartfield was a support of the communist which was “list 5” on the election ballet and his painting was somewhat campaigning to attract vote for the number 5 communist party. There is a saying that goes, “United we stand; divided we fall.” Unity brings success.

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  15. "I don't want words that other people have invented. All the words are other people's inventions. I want my own stuff, my own rhythm, and vowels and consonants too, matching the rhythm and all my own."
    - Hugo Ball (Dada Manifesto, 1916)


    This quote from Hugo Ball's Dada Manifesto is about individual identity and ownership of something you create. Hugo Ball is saying this because of the growing popularity of Dadaism. Everyone was creating their own forms of the so called "anti-art" to express the realities of the world. I agree with the message this quote is trying to send out because I understand it's artistic relevance. When this was written the artists art the time were trying to breakaway from the traditional rules and guidelines of what art should look like, this is especially seen with the Dadaist artists. Dadaist art is unlike anything anyone had really seen at the time, as mentioned it the lecture it was meant to be as realistic as possible to the point where it was intentionally ugly. War had created this growing sense if nihilism that people were using art as a medium to express these realism ideas. Creating something unique is then very important in order to captivate the audience that will see your work. Dadaism is about creating your own style, Dadaism is what you make of it as long as you follow your own rules to create your art and not the typically expected. In terms of the present I believe this quote still holds true. People are constantly trying to create something about themselves that sets them apart from others. Artists are usually really good at doing this by finding other unconventional ways to create art. Writers try to think of stories that will become the next big thing that could be proceeded by a film being made as well. Everyone usually tries to stand out one way or another and create something that others will recognize them for. This is how Dadaism came to be, it came from people wanting to express themselves in unique ways that will catch the attention of an audience.
    Breaking away from tradition accomplished that and makes the artist memorable.

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    1. "Nihilism", "Expressionism", "Dada" are philosophy that developed out of rebellion, anger, bitterness and unbearable human condition that lead to the second world war. They developed out of the quest of Germany to rule the whole world after the fall of Ottoman empire in the Middle East.

      "Dada" is the artistic display of rebellion, anger, hopelessness, confusion and deviant culture to show lack of trust or conformity to rules and norms that caused the World War 1. It started in Zurich and later spread to other European nations and even New York. There were so much trauma, frustrations, loss of lives after World War 1, that people no longer have meanings to life or value anything. No faith in religious leaders, and church, especially Catholic faith.

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  17. In addition to my previous comment to Doris discussion. "Dada" philosophy that later became a movement can be seen in the photo named "The Eclipse of the Sun," George Grosz, 1926; where the picture is characterized by confusion, headless humans at conference discussion with an animal in attendance. It's all absurdity!

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  18. How do we relate nihilism with dadaism folks? Am getting confuse please help me out. we made to understand nihilism is nothing that is to say established values and believes are nothing fake and dadaism is an artistic movement.

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    1. Even though Nihilism suggests nothingness, I believe it has other meanings like the professor said lack of value. It is not necessarily fake because it exists; in terms of art it could very well mean a loss of hope. Art tells a story so one can depict nihilistic themes from a painting for example. I too need to read some more on the topic to get a clearer understanding.

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    2. Hello I do respect every one's thought and ideas which I do think to be awesome. Would you believe that I kind of related the previous lecture to a sort of atheism. I know it may seem kind of far fetched but, it made many valid points and, at the same time, to me it denied our existence in good.

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  19. The perspectives of Nietzsche


    I chose blind pupils for many reasons. Not only when I read the quote was it indescribably accurate to the capital letter of T. But, it is the greatest explanation to what is going on right now in the world. I know every one is more than likely wondering what in the world is she talking about? And, for those of you who have not met me as of yet my name is Pomaretta. The quote to me was one of the most profound reasoning of all times that proves today's reality. Quote- "As long as many knows very well the strength and the weakness of his teaching, his art, his religion, it's power is still slight". We are taught in many areas of life. What interpretation we choose good or bad can be detrimental to not only our well being but, the well being of others. Next the quote explains "The pupil and the apostle who blinded by authority of the master and by the piety feels toward him pays no attention to the weakness of a teaching, a religion, and soon usually has for that reason more power than the master". This would be an great example of the Muslim groups whom declare their acts of violence as Jihad. They have been taught by teachers of teachers of teachers. That means innovation's upon innovation's. Where as good may have been taught but, throughout time, wars, lost of loved ones, friends, land and, statuses, there has been lot's of hatred, animosity and, envy created in the name of many things especially GOD that have the world today in such turmoil. Quote "The influence of a man has never yet grown great without his blind pupils". I hate to say this but I guess today we can call them "HOME GROWN TERRORIST or "ISSIS". Quote "To help a merely to unite it with stupidity so intimately that the weight of the latter also enforces the victory of the former"! With that being said, there are many lost souls in this world seeking what they want it to be "IT" or the "TRUTH". When seeking truth every one knows right from wrong. Therefore if one is seeking the truth and find themselves with a church, masjid, Jewish temple, etc, and this is for them, great. But, then the teachings become personal and not on path with the good books, it is time to go! This is where STUPIDITY has become evident. Example; Muslim extremist groups that are killing so many people and, say this is their Jihad. They have taken all these blind pupils and instead of teaching these lost souls what is of peace, they have turned that peace into what they claim to be the victory of the apostles from day one

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    1. Nietzsche's statement, "The pupil and the apostle who blinded by authority of the master and by the piety feels toward him pays no attention to the weakness of a teaching, a religion, and soon usually has for that reason more power than the master", is somewhat true. There are somethings that people should just believe blindly because they do not have the ability to understand due to the fact that we are merely human. One of those things is why does God did not prevent us from committing sins. However, I think that it is good to question human interpretation of the God's words due to the fact that all humans are flawed. As for your viewed of Muslim extremist you must not forgot the origin of these extremist. Western interference is one of the main reason why those people feel the way they do.

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  20. “The artists that made up this movement found very little if anything in contemporary society worth preserving or saving. Their view was that German society was corrupt and built on exploitation and oppression and needed to be negated or destroyed before anything new could be created.”

    An artist is basically someone who is engaged in the practice of art and enjoys creating it and does it throughout a variety of methods. Little we know is that artists have influenced movements and historical events throughout the world that a normal human being would not have achieved. In addition, artists are the people who help keep culture, music, art and history alive because they are always representing these topics through their powerful memorable creation. For example, this quote emphasize that the German society was corrupt and built on exploitation and oppression, this happened because the Adolf Hitler the leader of the Nazis had a different point of view for the future of Germany. If we take John Heartfield who was an artist born in Berlin, he drew the painting “Adolf the Superman” where he represents Hitler without a heart and soul and instead it shows the Nazis symbol as a representation of power and dominance. Art is meant to represent reality whether it may be misery from pleasure, life or death and just about anything in between. Art can be a very powerful tool during any type of moment whether it is political, religious or revolutionary because art can represent emotions, beliefs and disagreement.

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    1. Hi Cesar;
      The quote you picked is interesting. It is ironic that the artists were so against the corruption in the German society yet relied it to survive. If it was not for the fact that the rich love of flaunting their money through buying painting many of these artists would have died from hunger. My biggest problem with the artists is that they did not provide solutions. They made it seem anarchy was the only thing that would work.

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    2. This is certain. In that era, the voice of the little guy or certain movements had to be low-key. The art was interpretational. So the messages were not necessarily conveying any protest. The expression art was how we can now tell what happened without having actual footage from certain people who could not have otherwise expressed it.

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    3. Very well put. You have helped me to understand a little better how art depicts what was transpiring in the world and how one's ideas/feelings were expressed through art to show what they felt. I don't have an eye to capture this when I look at a painting.

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  21. "There are no facts, only interpretations." - Nietzsche in Nachlass
    I agree with this statement by Nietzache. Cognitive linguistics is a branch of linguistics base off on this ideology. Facts are either written or spoken language. The way we speak, and interpret what we hear and read is based off our individual cognitive thinking. I feel that the Nihilistic artists felt the same way about their art. They felt that nothing in their art was a fact just interpretation. This is the reason why everything they made was abstract.

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  22. "Dada is a new tendency in art. One can tell this from the fact that until now, nobody knew anything about it and tomorrow everyone will be talking about it. Dada comes from the dictionary. It is simple. In French it means "hobby horse". In German it means "goodbye", "get off my back", be seeing you sometime". In Romanian: "yes, indeed, you are right, that's it, But of course, yes, definitely, right". And so forth".

    Dada is a new style of art on the rise. This is understood by the fact that one day prior to it being displayed and spoken about in Zurich, a city in switzerland, no one had any idea that it existed. The meaning of Dada is what ever you want it to be. A definition of a word in the dictionary can be picked at random and Dada will be the synonym to the word of choice. This is why in French it means, "hobby horse', and in German it means "goodbye", in Romanian it means " yes", etc. As far as Dada is concerned you can go on and on attaching a meaning to it that is suitable for you. Dada truly has no meaning and is truly just a movement against the middle class.

    The author is simply trying to express that Dada is what you want it to be. True or false, real or fake, realistic or illusional, it was a representation of the perception and criticism of one during the era they lived. I chose this quote as it was challenging to truly grasp and idea and understanding of what Dada art was and represented.I am not sure if I am on the mark and still require some clarity, but it was interesting to me that Dada didn't have a global meaning. Daily we as people have our own perception about our way of life and other's. Daily we criticize how we and other' live. So in a more modernized way,using things like televised media, photos, news paper cartoons, and articles to depict through stories, pictures and words the perception and criticism of the difficult and controversial times people live in and the wars that are resulting from one nation's beliefs and desires against another's.

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  23. Edvard Munch - expressionism

    According to Bio.com's article, Edvard was born in the mid 1800's. Munch attended college for one year studying engineering before he found a new passion for art and decided to attend school for art. Munch studied art for three years and later received a scholarship. Edvard's first art form of expressionism was that of his painting "The Sick Child" which represented his feeling behind the lost of his sister. During his time in France living off of state scholarships he produced a set of paintings titled "Frieze of Life". "The Scream" which professor included in lecture was one of his most prestigious pieces. Munch later bumped into illness, alcoholic,mental, and physical. Although he no longer produced any great paintings after his transition, he continued to pain until he passed."often depicting his deteriorating condition and various physical maladies in his work". Edvard Munch.[Internet].20115. The Biography. com website. Available from: http://www.biograph.com/people/edvard-munch-9418033 [Accessed 19 Feb 2015]

    Edvard Munch-Melancholy-1892
    In this piece I see some dull,low and gloomy colors. It appears to be evening. I see a man who appears to be sitting and thinking about something pressing upon his spirit. The black shirt implies he is in a low place and he is dressed according to how he feels. While he appears to be trying to figure out how to resolve his hidden issue behind him in the distance appears to be two people communicating. They are either about to get on a boat or have just gotten off. The water is still and the sun is setting. The title implies the man is sad or upset about something. It leaves me to wonder if the scene in the distance is a thought or memory about a pleasant relationship he once had that he no longer has.

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