Art Stroll: Dadaglobe Reconstructed at MoMA

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Art Stroll


A couple weeks ago Andrew Borloz (check his amazing new stencils out!) and I met in the City for a an extended Art Stroll, to be precise – three art strolls and this is the first of them.


Our first stop was the Dadaglobe Reconstructed exhibition at MoMA. Dada is an Anti-Art Movement founded in 1916 in Zurich which spread all over the world. Dada embraced the idea of art as protest and rejected the idea of art as commodity. The world had changed after WWI and artists were ready to break down hierarchy, breaking rules and thinking about what was going on in the world. Usual themes of Dada were politics of the time, new technology, ideas of authority – striving to equalize, turning everyday objects into art. Dada revolutionized Modern Art, anything was possible, mixing ideas, embracing everyday objects as potential art materials, using collage etc.

Dadaglobe was planned by Tristan Tzara, one of the founders of the Dada Movement. He wanted to create a book to be published in 1921 and invited 50 artists from 10 different countries to submit artworks for the book. The work was to be mailed and usually in the size of the later book pages. Reaching out this way was in itself revolutionary as it was a collaboration of international exchange in a time of Nationalism where many resentments against other nations existed and some countries weren’t allowed to travel everywhere. Unfortunately for financial and other reasons the book was never published, but what remained were some of the artwork that was sent in, and the cataloging how Tzara envisioned the layout of the book and the order of the artwork.


In his solicitation letters Tzara instructed his fellow artists to provide 2-3 reproductions of their work, drawings, a book page with text and a photograph of themselves which they could alter freely. The last part of the instructions was the one that the artists seemed to have the most fun with and went wild.


Rastada Painting, 1920 by Francis Piciabia, cut-and-pasted printed paper on paper with ink

In Picabia’s self portrait he describes himself as a failure, a wag and a gigolo and represents himself as a clown .


Francis Picabia, 1920 Ink and watercolor on paper

In this drawing Picabia created an calligraphic signature and then signs it , mocking conventions of authorship and authenticity.

I had to keep in mind that all the artwork in this exhibition was not made for the wall, they were made for reproduction in book form and the exhibition shows more or less the Making of a Book.


Portrait of Sophie Taeuber with her Dada Head by Nic. Aluf, ca. 1920 –

I love that the self portrait shows her with the artwork below – it was wonderful to see the original work


Dada Head by Sophie Taeuber, 1920 Oil onturned wood

which she then also had painted. Again I loved that they included the original artwork which she submitted as a photograph for the book.


Dada Composition (Flat Head) by Sophie Taeuber, 1920, Oil on Canvas

Compressing her sculpture onto the plane of a canvas – flatten three dimensions into two.



Bride by Marcel Duchamp, 1912, oil on canvas

Submitted was a photograph of Duchamp’s painting.

I really loved the pieces below- one of the reasons is that the german text is actually quite funny – I know… unfair 😉


Dada Milky Way (Dada Milchstrasse) by Johannes Bader, ca. 1919-1920, cut- and-pasted printed paper sand cut-and-pasted gelatin silver print on printed paper


Advertisement for Myself: Dada Milky Way by Johannes Baader, 1920, cut-and-pasted printed paper and ink on printed paper

Baader wrote Hannah Höch after he received the invitation by Tzara that he was very excited about this clever and good idea for a collaboration. How cool is that?


Manifesto W5 by Max Ernst, 1920, cut-and-pasted printed papers on colored paper

This is my favorite- I love Max Ernst and his humor – he is one of my favorite artists and a lot of the techniques that we as Mixed Media Artist use were actually invented by him. The above work says “Speak loud! Be brave!”


The Human Eye and a Fish, The Latter Petrified by Johannes Theodor Baargeld, , 1920, cut-and-patered paper, ink and pencil on paper

It was a fun exhibition and I loved that the movement of Dada and the projects for Dadaglobe got many later very famous artists inspired and trying new things and approaches to their art. That is why collaborating with other artists can be such an rewarding and inspiring thing to do!



And then Andrew and I continued our Art Stroll uptown to the Guggenheim Museum…but that is a different post 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the stroll.



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Comments (2)

  • Profile photo of Nurse-Ratchet



    Imagine, an art lesson relaxing in bed on a Saturday morning! Awesome, as always my FLGL❤ And thank you for introducing me to Andrew’s stunning art and stencils?


    • Profile photo of Nathalie Kalbach

      Nathalie Kalbach


      oh that sounds like a great saturday morning my sweet Canadian lady :))) Glad you liked it and yes- Andrew’s stencils are amazing!!!


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