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Visual Arts Subject Overview

Modernism in the visual arts is a complex term and currently the subject of much academic debate. However, this project demanded that we set boundaries…

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de Zayas, Marius (1880–1961)

Marius de Zayas was a Mexican caricaturist, writer, collector, dealer, and curator who formed part of the New York avant-garde, and did much to promote…

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Eggeling, Viking (1880–1925)

Viking Eggeling, born in Lund, Sweden as the son of a music store owner, was an avant-garde painter who worked in Italy, France, Switzerland, and…

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Arp, Hans/Jean (1886–1966)

Hans/Jean Arp is an Alsatian poet and artist, who was a founding member of Dada and an active participant in Constructivism and Surrealism. Arp grew…

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Cravan, Arthur (1887–1918)

Born Fabian Avernius Lloyd in Lausanne, Switzerland to expatriate English parents, Arthur Cravan was a self-styled ‘poet-pugilist,’ nephew of Oscar Wilde, and husband of British…

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Arensberg, Walter (1878–1954)

Walter Arensberg (April 4, 1878 to January 29, 1954) and his wife, Louise Stevens Arensberg (1879–1953), were influential patrons of the avant-garde, building a collection…

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Paik, Nam June (1932–2006)

Nam June Paik was a Korean-born American artist who achieved international notoriety for his destructive, neo-dada activities and visionary, esthetic experiments with electronic media. Born…

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Shkurupii, Geo (1903–1937)

Ukrainian futurist poet and prose writer Shkurupii was a close collaborator of Mykhail Semenko, the founder of Ukrainian Futurism. He penned articles about Marinetti and…

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Wood, Beatrice (1893–1998)

An American potter known for luster-glaze chalices and whimsical ceramic figures, Beatrice Wood was once named the “Mama of Dada.” Born on 3 March 1893…

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Fondane, Benjamin (1898–1944)

A primarily francophone Jewish poet and writer of Romanian origin, Fondane became known as a critic, poet and dramaturge in Romania before leaving Bucharest for…

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Yokomitsu, Riichi (1898–1947)

Riichi Yokomitsu was a Japanese novelist who, as one of the founders of Shinkankaku-ha [New Sensation School], helped introduce European avant-garde literature into Japan during…

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Stridentist Movement (1921–1928)

The Stridentist Movement [Movimiento Estridentista], founded by poet Manuel Maples Arce (1898–1981), was the only avant-garde Mexican literary and artistic group in the 1920s. The…

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Dix, Otto (1891–1969)

Otto Dix was a painter who emerged as a leading figure of the German avant-garde after World War I. His expressionist caprices, dadaist collages, and…

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Cunard, Nancy (1896–1965)

A poet, journalist, publisher, radical intellectual, and political activist, Nancy Cunard operated at or near the centre of multiple modernist discourses. Her early poetry, especially…

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Burroughs, William S. (1914–1997)

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, William S. Burroughs was a major figure of the Beat Generation. He is known primarily for his controversial novel Naked…

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Taeuber, Sophie (1889–1943)

Artist Sophie Taeuber’s career spanned a variety of movements, including Dada and Constructivism, and media, such as textile arts, interior design, architecture, painting, and sculpture.…

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Ball, Hugo (1886–1927)

Born in Pirmasens on February 22, 1886, the German writer Hugo Ball is best known as the co-founder, with Tristan Tzara, of the Cabaret Voltaire…

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Dadaism in Film

Members of the Dada cultural and artistic movement began to experiment with film as a means to disseminate their stylistic partialities and cultural values through…

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Satie, Erik Alfred Leslie (1866–1925)

Erik Satie’s compositions, writings, and humor played an important role in many modernist movements of the twentieth century. Experimenting with simple forms, neoclassicism, mysticism, satire,…

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Gutai

Gutai Art Association [Gutai Bijutsu Kyōkai] [具体美術協会] was an influential post-World War II Japanese avant-garde collective with an outward-looking mindset. Founded in 1954 in Ashiya,…

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Man Ray (1890-1976)

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Man Ray was one of the key innovators in modernist photography, film, and object making. He began his artistic career as a…

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Aragon, Louis (1897–1982)

French author Louis Aragon was a member of the surrealist movement until he split with André Breton and began to devote more of his energy…

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Clair, René (1898–1981)

Filmmaker, novelist, and critic René Clair (original name René-Lucien Chomette) was one of the foremost French film directors of the 1920s and 1930s. His first…

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Picabia, Francis (1879–1953)

A cavalier individualist, Francis Picabia became an internationally renowned avant-garde artist, spearheading Paris and New York Dada with his friend Marcel Duchamp and also contributing…