A movement in art and literature founded in Switzerland in the early 20th century that ridiculed contemporary culture and conventional art with an antimilitaristic and anti-aesthetic attitude influenced by the horrors of World War I. It extolled the irrational, the absurd, the nihilistic and the nonsensical. Example-the reproduction of Mona Lisa adorned with a moustache. The movement is regarded as the precursor of Surrealism. In addition, some critics regard Happenings, a movement incorporating environment and spectators as active and important ingredients in the production of random events, as a recent development of Dada. Examples-Duchamp, Man Ray, Hoch, Miro and Picasso.
Fr.- "hobbyhorse"] - Meaningless name given to an anti-art movement. In Zurich in 1916, First World War refugees used nonsense text, performances and abstract art to criticize the pretense of freedom, democracy and the power of reason of the Western Civilization that produced the devastation of war.
A provocative and playful European art movement following World War I - characterized by seemingly random, unstructured, and "anti-aesthetic" creativity - that was briefly but deeply influential in poetry, painting, and theatre.