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Definition of DADA
: a movement in art and literature based on deliberate irrationality and negation of traditional artistic values; also: the art and literature produced by this movement
Origin of DADA
First Known Use: 1919
Nihilistic movement in the arts. It originated in Zürich, Switz., in 1916 and flourished in New York City, Paris, and the German cities of Berlin, Cologne, and Hannover in the early 20th century. The name, French for hobbyhorse, was selected by a chance procedure and adopted by a group of artists, including Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Francis Picabia, to symbolize their emphasis on the illogical and absurd. The movement grew out of disgust with bourgeois values and despair over World War I. The archetypal Dada forms of expression were the nonsense poem and the ready-made. Dada had far-reaching effects on the art of the 20th century; the creative techniques of accident and chance were sustained in Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, conceptual art, and Pop art.