33.8 °F
October 28, 2016
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A rose by any other name

Wikipedia describes Dadaism as a “cultural phenomenon that involved visual arts, literature, theatre and graphic design which is anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anarchist in nature.” The website goes on to describe this period in art history by stating that “Dada was not art, it was anti-art. If art was to appeal to sensibilities, Dada was intended to offend. Through their rejection of traditional culture and aesthetics, the Dadaists hoped to destroy the same.”

Well, all I can say is: “Job well done!” I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that the work offends me or my sensibilities, but it still leaves me cold (presently, three degrees) and scratching my weary head. Coleman is passionate about art and our conversation was illuminating, but the light bulb remains off for me. Dadaism clearly had impact on the art world and created a unique, new approach to what one considers artistic expression, which influenced later styles such as avant-garde, surrealism, pop art and punk rock. (Oy!)

While far from new at this point, the style still stirs the emotions, good, bad and ugly. During its heyday, one reviewer from the American Art News described Dada philosophy as “the sickest, most paralyzing and destructive thing that has ever originated from the brain of man.” Ouch. Just when I thought I was being too harsh, or critical of something I simply failed to understand, I find that I am not alone in my evaluation, which, quite naturally, serves to validate me in a way that no Valentine ever could.

At the very least, all things Dada can still get a rise out of me and makes it clear that true artists could not care less what my opinion is, humble or otherwise. As my search continues, I am reminded that all artistic expression is valid (even mine!) and that abstract art and sound poetry have their place, so I will keep on looking for it.