En Avant Dada

Making Art
The Great Art Debate Redux:
• From Alberti to the Avant- Garde
• En Avant Dada
• Making the Manifesto
Humanities Core Course
Winter 2008 “Making”
Dr. Bridget Hoida
Modified by C Gillis
Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472)
“Thus the face of a man who is
already dead certainly lives a long
life through painting” (63).
• In his Prologue Alberti stated:
• “ Painters, sculptors, architects,
musicians, geometricians,
rhetoricians, seers and similar
noble and amazing intellects are
very rarely found today and there
are few to praise them. Thus I
believed, as many said, that
Nature, the mistress of things,
had grown old and tired. She no
longer produced either geniuses
or giants which in her more
youthful and more glorious days
she had produced so
marvelously and abundantly”
Consider our
“Giants & Geniuses”
• Does every generation have its own
• If so, can the “rules” of a previous
generation apply to our art, or, like Alberti,
must we “re-vision” new rules?
• Like your essay task in AMSND must we
“re-cast” and “re-stage” the roles of artistic
geniuses and giants?
• What might this revision entail?
On Fame
• “I believe the power of acquiring wide fame in
any art or science lies in our industry and
diligence more than in the times or in the gifts of
nature” (Alberti 39).
• Do you agree with this statement? Is art in
“industry” and “diligence” or in the “times” and
“gifts” of nature?
• Is/should the purpose of artistic expression be
about fame? Appreciation? Experience?
Can Art be Political?
Can artists help to make
a revolution?
• To help answer these
questions, posed by
Professor Moeller, take a
look at the primary source
En Avant Dada,
beginning in the middle of
p. 23: "In 1917 the
The Art Manifesto
• The Art manifesto has been a recurrent feature associated with the
avant-garde in Modernism.
• Art manifestos are mostly extreme in their rhetoric and intended for
shock value to achieve a revolutionary effect.
• They often address wider issues, such as the political system.
• Typical themes are the need for revolution, freedom (of expression)
and the implied or overtly stated superiority of the writers over the
status quo.
• The manifesto gives a means of expressing, publicizing and
recording ideas for the artist or art group— even if only one or two
people write the words, it is mostly still attributed to the group name.
• Manifestos were introduced with the Futurists in Italy in 1909, and
readily taken up by the Vorticists, Dadaists and the Surrealists after
them: the period up to World War II created what are still the best
known manifestos.
The Dada Manifesto Demands:
The international revolutionary
union of all creative and
intellectual men and women on
the basis of radical Communism.
Rejection of prewar aesthetic
called Expressionism
Recall that Expressionism is: the
tendency of an artist to distort
reality for an emotional effect; it is
a subjective art form. Examples
include, El Greco, and Edvard
Why might the Dadaists reject this
aesthetic? (Consider Much’s The
The Dada Demands Cont.:
“In art it aimed at inwardness, abstraction, renunciation of all objectivity.”
Instead: “The highest form of art will be that which in its conscious
content presents the thousandfold problems of the day, the art which
has been visibly shattered by the explosions of the last week, which
is forever trying to collect its limbs after yesterday’s crash. The best
and most extraordinary artists will be those who every hour snatch
the tatters of their bodies out of the frenzied cataract of life, who,
with bleeding hands and hearts, hold fast to the intelligence of their
For Dadaists, “Emphasis was laid on the movement, on the struggle.”
“The introduction of progressive unemployment” that will make it possible
“for the individual to achieve certainty as to the truth of life and finally
become accustomed to experience.”
“Compulsory adherence of all clergymen and teachers to the Dadaist
articles of faith”
“Introduction of the simulataneist poem as a Communist state prayer.”
“Dadaist advisor council for remodeling of life in every city of over 50,000
“150 circuses for the enlightenment of the proletariat.”
The Manifesto Continues
• Recall other Manifestos in your
Course Reader and visit the links
on our section website for links to
additional manifestos.
• You should note that: “Although
they never stopped being issued,
other media such as the growth of
broadcasting tended to sideline
such declarations.”
• “Due to the internet there has been
a resurgence of the form, and many
new manifestos are now appearing
to a potential worldwide audience.
The Stuckists have made particular
use of this to start a worldwide
movement of affiliated groups.”
Tristan Tzara Explains:
• “A manifesto is a
communication made to the
whole world, whose only
pretension is to the discovery
of an instant cure for political,
astronomical, artistic,
parliamentary, agronomical
and literary syphilis. It may be
pleasant, and good-natured,
it's always right, it's strong,
vigorous and logical. Apropos
of logic, I consider myself very
likeable.” - From Feeble Love &
Bitter Love, II
Links to Sample Manifestos:
Cheap Art: http://www.391.org/manifestos/cheapartmanifesto.htm
Crap Art: http://crapart.spacebar.org/
Visionary Art: http://visionaryrevue.com/webtext/longman1.html
Futurism: http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/
Auto Destructive Art:
• Transhumanist Art: http://www.transhumanist.biz/extropic.htm
• Additionally, Wikipedia (from where presented material was
gleaned) has many “samples:”