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Neo-Dadalocked

  • Julia Robinson

Extract

Term used to describe a mid-20th century art movement in America. First used in May 1957, in Robert Rosenblum’s “Castellli Group” article for Arts Magazine, and then, more dramatically, in January 1958, in ARTnews with Jasper Johns’s Target with Four Faces (1955) on its cover. Between 1958 and 1963 the “Neo-Dada” moniker was picked up and used extensively by critics worldwide. Initially intended to describe the attempts of artists in the late 1950s—between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art—to transform a subjective painterly field through collage and assemblage strategies that incorporated everyday objects. The concept “Neo-Dada,” used mostly in the context of art criticism, suggested that the new generation was reprising the strategies of the Dada movement. The original term Dada defined a spirit of protest initiated by an international group of artists who came together in 1916, at the height of World War I, in Zurich in neutral Switzerland. The complexity of this historical background suggests the fallacy of reusing the concept of “Dada” to refer to the work of American artists at the dawn of the 1960s, most of whom seized found materials with an unbridled optimism....

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