Discussion 3.3

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One concept introduced in this week’s materials was
how Dada artists used “readymades” and “anti-art” pieces to both represent and critique their post-World War I societies…

Marcel Duchamp, “In Advance of the Broken Arm
(originally made in 1915, French/American Dada, readymade)

duchamp arm


Hannah Höch, “Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany” (1919-20, German Dada, photomontage and collage with watercolor)


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  • What a readymade, and what does “anit-art” mean within the context of the Dada movement? Provide a working definition for both of these concepts, in your own words.
  • How do Duchamp and Höch differently engage with readymades? What are they using to construct their artworks, and how are they changing the original meaning of these objects?
  • Why were Dada artists approaching art in a new, antagonistic way after World War I? In what ways were Duchamp and Höch attempting to critique both the art world and their larger societies through art? What sorts of questions or new ways of thinking/seeing were they attempting to introduce?
  • Several contemporary scholars, including Hoins (whose article you just read preceding this exercise), have argued that Dada has experiencing a “rebirth” over the last couple of years as “Neo-Dada,” and that the approaches of this movement are especially relevant to Millennials today. Why do scholars think this is? Do you agree? In what ways does the style and content of Dada seem relevant for us today?

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