Books about Dada

The Posthuman Dada Guide: tzara and lenin play chess

by Andrei Codrescu

Published by Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691137780


The Posthuman Dada Guide is an impractical handbook for practical living in our posthuman world--all by way of examining the imagined 1916 chess game between Tristan Tzara, the daddy of Dada, and V. I. Lenin, the daddy of communism. This epic game at Zurich's Café de la Terrasse--a battle between radical visions of art and ideological revolution--lasted for a century and may still be going on, although communism appears dead and Dada stronger than ever. As the poet faces the future mass murderer over the chessboard, neither realizes that they are playing for the world. Taking the match as metaphor for two poles of twentieth- and twenty-first-century thought, politics, and life, Andrei Codrescu has created his own brilliantly Dadaesque guide to Dada--and to what it can teach us about surviving our ultraconnected present and future. Here dadaists Duchamp, Ball, and von Freytag-Loringhoven and communists Trotsky, Radek, and Zinoviev appear live in company with later incarnations, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gilles Deleuze, and Newt Gingrich. The Posthuman Dada Guide is arranged alphabetically for quick reference and (some) nostalgia for order, with entries such as "eros (women)," "internet(s)," and "war." Throughout, it is written in the belief "that posthumans lining the road to the future (which looks as if it exists, after all, even though Dada is against it) need the solace offered by the primal raw energy of Dada and its inhuman sources."


Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century

By Jed Rasula

Published by Basic Books


Cost: $29.99

In Destruction Was My Beatrice, modernist scholar Jed Rasula presents the first narrative history of Dada, showing how this little-understood artistic phenomenon laid the foundation for culture as we know it today. Although the venue where Dada was born closed after only four months and its acolytes scattered, the idea of Dada quickly spread to New York, where it influenced artists like Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray; to Berlin, where it inspired painters George Grosz and Hannah Höch; and to Paris, where it dethroned previous avant-garde movements like Fauvism and Cubism while inspiring early Surrealists like André Breton, Louis Aragon, and Paul éluard. The long tail of Dadaism, Rasula shows, can be traced even further, to artists as diverse as William S. Burroughs, Robert Rauschenberg, Marshall McLuhan, the Beatles, Monty Python, David Byrne, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, all of whom—along with untold others—owe a debt to the bizarre wartime escapades of the Dada vanguard.


Lost Profiles: Memoirs of Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism

By Philippe Soupault (Translation by Alan Bernheimer, Foreward by Mark Polizzotti, Afterward by Ron Padgett)

Published by City Lights Books

ISBN: 9780872867277

Cost: $13.95

Poet Alan Bernheimer provides a long overdue English translation of this French literary classic—Lost Profiles is a retrospective of a crucial period in modernism, written by co-founder of the surrealist movement. Opening with a reminiscence of the international Dada movement in the late 1910s and its transformation into the beginnings of surrealism, Lost Profiles then proceeds to usher its readers into encounters with a variety of literary lions. We meet an elegant Marcel Proust, renting five adjoining rooms at an expensive hotel to "contain" the silence needed to produce Remembrance of Things Past; an exhausted James Joyce putting himself through grueling translation sessions for Finnegans Wake; and an enigmatic Apollinaire in search of the ultimate objet trouvé. Soupault sketches lively portraits of surrealist precursors like Pierre Reverdy and Blaise Cendrars, a moving account of his tragic fellow surrealist René Crevel, and the story of his unlikely friendship with right-wing anti-Vichy critic George Bernanos. The collection ends with essays on two modernist forerunners, Charles Baudelaire and Henri Rousseau. With an afterword by Ron Padgett recounting his meeting with Soupault in the mid 70's and a preface by Breton biographer Mark Polizzotti, Lost Profiles confirms Soupault's place in the vanguard of twentieth-century literature.

Philippe Soupault (1897-1990) served in the French army during WWI and subsequently joined the Dada movement. In 1919, he collaborated with André Breton on the automatic text Les Champs magnétiques, launching the surrealist movement. In the years that followed, he wrote novels and journalism, directed Radio Tunis in Tunisia, and worked for UNESCO

Release Party:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 6:00 p.m. (Concert at 8:00 p.m.) at :  Mechanics' Institute Library, 57 Post Street, 4rth Floor, San Francisco, 94104with editor Garett Caples, translator and poet Alan Bernheimer joined by Mark Calkins and Abigail Susik offering special presentations on the history of Parisian Dada. Musician Amy X. Neuburg will be presenting a special musical tribute in honor of the 100th anniversary of Dada at evening's end. (Public $15.00, Members Free)



by Tristan Tzara (translated Gillian Conoley w/Domenic Stansberry)

published by Molotov Editions

ISBN: 9780996765954

Cost: $6.95

12 of December, 1920 Tristan Tzara, author and saboteur, translated from the French by Gillian Conoley with language further annihilated  by  Domenic Stansberry, in celebration of the final assassination of  dada already  dead, and in public edification, too,  of the centennial of  the movement's continual death,  long and feeble crying,  oh,  you and your cash register, please note:  Bar Code;  true love, ambition, literary syphilis.   


Dadaglobe Reconstructed

Edited by Kunsthaus Zürich

With Contributions by Adrian Sudhalter, Michel Sanouillet, Cathérine Hug, Samantha Friedman, Lee Ann Daffner, and Karl D. Buchberg. 

Distributed for Scheidegger and Spiess

ISBN: 9783858817754

Cost: $59.00

Dadaglobe was to be the definitive anthology of the Dada movement. Had it been published in 1921 as planned, it would have constituted more than one hundred artworks by some thirty artists from seven countries, showing Dada to be an artistic and literary movement with truly global reach. Yet, mainly due to a lack of funding, it remained unpublished, a remarkable void in the literature on this early-twentieth-century movement.

On the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Dada in Zurich, Dadaglobe Reconstructed restores this fascinating literary artifact with reproductions of the works of art received by the Romanian poet and cofounder of the Dada movement Tristan Tzara. Tzara’s call for submissions in four categories—drawings, photographs of artworks, photographic self-portraits, and book layouts—was met not merely with existing works. In fact, the parameters for production also served as a catalyst for the creation of many new ones, including some of the Dada movement’s most iconic works. For the first time, the collection is presented here in full color and alongside essays examining Tzara’s concept and the history of Dada and Dadaglobe.

Based on years of extensive research by American scholar Adrian Sudhalter, Dadaglobe Reconstructed provides a remarkable view of Dada, with a wealth of previously unpublished material. It will be essential—and fascinating—reading for anyone interested in the first truly international avant-garde movement.


TaTa Dada: The Real Life and Celestial Adventures of Tristan Tzara

By Marius Hentea

Published by The MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262027540

Cost: $34.95

Tristan Tzara, one of the most important figures in the twentieth century’s most famous avant-garde movements, was born Samuel Rosenstock (or Samueli Rosenstok) in a provincial Romanian town, on April 16 (or 17, or 14, or 28) in 1896. Tzara became Tzara twenty years later at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, when he and others (including Marcel Janco, Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck, and Hans Arp) invented Dada with a series of chaotic performances including multilingual (and nonlingual) shouting, music, drumming, and calisthenics. Within a few years, Dada (largely driven by Tzara) became an international artistic movement, a rallying point for young artists in Paris, New York, Barcelona, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. With TaTa Dada, Marius Hentea offers the first English-language biography of this influential artist.


Dada Presentism: An Essay on Art and History

By Maria Stavrinaki

Published by Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804798129

Cost: $18.95

Dada is often celebrated for its strategies of shock and opposition, but in Dada Presentism, Maria Stavrinaki provides a new picture of Dada art and writings as a lucid reflection on history and the role of art within it. The original (Berlin-based) Dadaists' acute historical consciousness and their modern experience of time, she contends, anticipated the formulations of major historians such as Reinhart Koselleck and, more recently, François Hartog. The book explores Dada temporalities and concepts of history in works of art, artistic discourse, and in the photographs of the Berlin Dada movement. These photographs—including the famous one of the First International Dada Fair—are presented not as simple, transparent documents, but as formal deployments conforming to a very concrete theory of history. This approach allows Stavrinaki to link Dada to more contemporary artistic movements and practices interested in history and the archive. At the same time, she investigates what seems to be a real oxymoron of the movement: its simultaneous claim to the ephemeral and its compulsive writing of its own history. In this way, Dada Presentism also interrogates the limits between history and fiction.



Maintenant 10: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art

edited by Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges

Cost: $18.95

In 10 years, MAINTENANT: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art has grown from a 12-page stapled black-and-white zine to the current issue: 190 pages filled with provocative, stunning, full color art and writing by some of the most intense DADA creators working around the globe today.

his issue includes contributions from many notable US artists and writers including Andrei Codrescu, Charles Plymell, Jerome Rothenberg, Anne Waldman, Roger Conover, S.A. Griffin, Alice Bag, Raymond Pettibon, John M. Bennett, Grant Hart and Jack Hirschman. International contributors from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Palestine, Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Australia, Japan and more include Mark Kostabi, Fausto Grossi, Joel Hubaut, Renaat Ramon, Avelino De Araujo, Dobrica Kamperelic, Bartolomé Ferrando, Irene Caesar, and more. Working with the theme “WARM/HUNGER,” contributors examined ideas of global warming, global hunger, and the “warmongers” that lead to these conditions. This issue of MAINTENANT also celebrates the 100th anniversary of the start of DADA, with quotes from DADA founders throughout the volume.


The Dada Reader: A Critical Anthology

Edited by Dawn Ades

Published by University Of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226006987

Cost: $34.00

The revolutionary Dada movement, though short-lived, produced a vast amount of creative work in both art and literature during the years that followed World War I. Rejecting all social and artistic conventions, Dadaists went to the extremes of provocative behavior, creating “anti-art” pieces that ridiculed and questioned the very nature of creative endeavor. To understand their movement’s heady mix of anarchy and nihilism—combined with a lethal dash of humor—it’s essential to engage with the artists’ most important writings and manifestos. And that is is precisely where this reader comes in.

Bringing together key Dada texts, many of them translated into English for the first time, this volume immerses readers in some of the most famous (and infamous) periodicals of the time, from Hugo Ball’s Cabaret Voltaire and Francis Picabia’s 391 to Marcel Duchamp’s The Blind Man and Kurt Schwitters’s Merz. Published in Europe and the United States between 1916 and 1932, these journals constituted the movement’s lifeblood, communicating the desires and aspirations of the artists involved. In addition to providing the first representative selection of these texts, The Dada Reader also includes excerpts from many lesser-known American and Eastern European journals.

Compiled with both students and general readers in mind, this volume is necessary reading for anyone interested in one of the most dynamic and influential movements of the twentieth century.


Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary 

By Hugo Ball, Edited with an introduction by John Elderfield

Published by University of California Press

ISBN: 0520204409

Cost: $31.95

Hugo Ball—poet, philosopher, novelist, cabaret performer, journalist, mystic—was a man extremely sensitive to the currents of his time and carried in their wake. In February 1916 he founded the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. The sound poems and performance art by Ball and the other artists who gathered there were the beginnings of Dada. Ball's extraordinary diaries, one of the most significant products of the Dada movement, are here available in English in paperback for the first time, along with the original Dada manifesto and John Elderfield's critical introduction, revised and updated for the paperback edition, and a supplementary bibliography of Dada texts that have appeared since the 1974 hardcover edition of this book.

Memoirs of a Dada Drummer

By Richard Huelsenbeck, Edited by Hans J. Kleinschmidt, Forward by Rudolf E. Kuenzli

Published by University of California Press

ISBN: 0520073703

Cost: $31.95

Huelsenbeck’s memoirs bring to life the concerns—intellectual, artistic, and political—of the individuals involved in the Dada movement and document the controversies within the movement and in response to it.


The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology

Edited by Robert Motherwell, Forward by Jack D. Flam

Published by Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674185005

Cost: $41.00 

The Dada Painters and Poets offers the authentic answer to the question “What is Dada?” This incomparable collection of essays, manifestos, and illustrations was prepared by Robert Motherwell with the collaboration of some of the major Dada figures: Marcel Duchamp, Jean Arp, and Max Ernst among others. Here in their own words and art, the principals of the movement create a composite picture of Dada—its convictions, antics, and spirit.

Dada: Art and Anti-Art

By Hans Richter, Translated by David Brit

Published by Thames and Hudson

ISBN: 9780500200391

Cost: $19.95

‘Where and how Dada began is almost as difficult to determine as Homer’s birthplace’, writes Hans Richter, the artist and film-maker closely associated with this radical and transforming movement from its earliest days. Here he records and traces Dada’s history, from its inception in about 1916 in wartime Zurich, to its collapse in Paris in 1922 when many of its members were to join the Surrealist movement, down to the present day when its spirit re-emerged first in the 1960s with, for example, Pop Art.

This absorbing eye witness narrative is greatly enlivened by extensive use of Dada documents, illustrations and a variety of texts by fellow Dadaists. It is a unique document of the movement, whether in Zurich, Berlin, Hanover, Paris or New York. The complex relationships and contributions of, among others, Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, Picabia, Arp, Schwitters, Hausmann, Duchamp, Ernst and Man Ray, are vividly brought to life.


Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hanover, Cologne, New York, Paris

Edited by Leah Dickerman. Essays by Brigid Doherty, Sabine T. Kriebel, Dorothea Dietrich, Michael R. Taylor, Janine Mileaf and Matthew S. Witkovsky. Foreword by Earl A. Powell III.

Published by National Gallery of Art, Washington/D.A.P.

ISBN: 9781933045207

Cost: $65.00

Along with Russian Constructivism and Surrealism, Dada stands as one of the three most significant movements of the historical avante garde. Born in the heart of Europe in the midst of World War 1, Dada displayed a raucous skepticism about accepted values. Its embrace of new materials, of collage and assemblage technique, of the designation of manufactered objects as art objects as well as its interest in performance, sound poetry and manifestos fundamentally shaped the terms of modern art practice and created an abiding legacy for post-war art. Yet, while the word Dada has common currency, few know much about Dada itself. In contrast to other key avante garde movements, there has never been a major American exhibition that explores Dada specifically in broad view. Dada--the catalogue to the exhibition on view in 2006 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City presents the hybrid forms of Dada art through an examination of city centers where Dada emerged: Zurich, Berlin, Cologne, Hanover, New York, and Paris. Covered here are works by some 40 artists made in the period from circa 1916, when the Cabaret Voltaire was founded in Zurich, to 1926, by which time most of the Dada groups had dispersed or significantly transformed. The city sections bring together painting, sculpture, photography, collage, photomontage, prints and graphic work.


Dada in the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art

Edited by Anne Umland, Adrian Sudhalter

Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York

ISBN: 9780870706684


This publication, the first devoted exclusively to The Museum of Modern Art's unrivaled Dada collection, features some seventy works-books, collages, drawings, films, paintings, photographs, photomontages, prints, readymades, and reliefs-in large reproductions accompanied by in-depth, object-focused essays by an interdepartmental group of the Museum's curators. Catalyzed by the major Dada exhibition that appeared in 2005 and 2006 in Paris and Washington, D.C. and at MoMA, the book benefits from new scholarship generated by the extraordinary opportunity the exhibition created for an international community of scholars to examine the Museum's objects beside those on loan from other institutions. The book's unique object-centered approach provides unparalleled access to the themes at the heart of this revolutionary movement. An illustrated essay by Anne Umland, Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum, traces MoMA's history of collecting, exhibiting, and publishing Dada work; it is complemented by a detailed chronology. Dada in the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art is the ninth volume of Studies in Modern Art, the Museum's publication series devoted to scholarly research on its collection.


Dada in Paris

By Michel Sanouillet, Translated by Sharmila Ganguly

Published by The MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262518215

Cost: $34.95

Michel Sanouillet's Dada in Paris, published in France in 1965, reintroduced the Dada movement to a public that had largely ignored or forgotten it. Over forty years later, it remains both the unavoidable starting point and the essential reference for anyone interested in Dada or the early twentieth-century avant-garde. This first English-language edition of Sanouillet's definitive work (a translation of the expanded 2005 French edition) gives English-speaking readers their first direct access to the author's monumental history (based on years of research, including personal involvement with most of the Dadaists still living at the time) and massive compilation of previously unpublished correspondence, including more than 200 letters to and from such movement luminaries as Tristan Tzara, André Breton, and Francis Picabia.


Women in Dada: Essays on Sex, Gender, and Identity

Edited by Naomi Sawelson-Gorse

Published by The MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262194099

Cost: $ 34.95

For all of its iconoclasm, the Dada spirit was not without repression, and the Dada movement was not without misogynist tendencies. Indeed, the word Dada evokes the idea of the male—both as father and as domineering authority. Thus female colleagues were to be seen not heard, nurturers not usurpers, pleasant not disruptive.

This book is the first to make the case that women's changing role in European and American society was critical to Dada. Debates about birth control and suffrage, a declining male population and expanding female workforce, the emergence of the New Woman, and Freudianism were among the forces that contributed to the Dadaist enterprise.

Among the female dadaists discussed are the German émigré Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven; Berlin dadaist Hannah Höch; French dadaists Juliette Roche and Suzanne Duchamp; Zurich dadaists Sophie Taeuber and Emmy Hennings; expatriate poet and artist Mina Loy; the "Queen of Greenwich Village," Clara Tice; Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, the lesbian couple who ran The Little Review; and Beatrice Wood, who died in 1998 at the age of 105. The book also addresses issues of colonialist racism, cross-dressing and dandyism, and the gendering of the machine. The bibliography was compiled by the International Dada Archive (Timothy Shipe and Rudolf E. Kuenzli).


Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity—A Cultural Biography

By Irene Gammel

Published by The MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262572156

Cost: $27.00

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874–1927) is considered by many to be the first American dadaist as well as the mother of dada. An innovator in poetic form and an early creator of junk sculpture, "the Baroness" was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances. Some thought her merely crazed, others thought her a genius. The editor Margaret Anderson called her "perhaps the only figure of our generation who deserves the epithet extraordinary." Yet despite her great notoriety and influence, until recently her story and work have been little known outside the circle of modernist scholars. In Baroness Elsa, Irene Gammel traces the extraordinary life and work of this daring woman, viewing her in the context of female dada and the historical battles fought by women in the early twentieth century. 


Dada East: The Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire

By Tom Sandqvist

Published by The MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262195072

Cost: $45.00

In Dada East, Tom Sandqvist shows that Dada did not spring full-grown from a Zurich literary salon but grew out of an already vibrant artistic tradition in Eastern Europe—particularly Romania—that was transposed to Switzerland when a group of Romanian modernists settled in Zurich. Bucharest and other cities in Romania had been the scene of Dada-like poetry, prose, and spectacle in the years before World War I. One of the leading lights was Tristan Tzara, who began his career in avant-garde literature at fifteen when he cofounded the magazine Simbolul. Tzara—who himself coined the term "Dada," inspired by an obscure connection of his birthday to an Orthodox saint—was at the Cabaret Voltaire that night, along with fellow Romanians Marcel, Jules, and Georges Janco and Arthur Segal. It's not a coincidence, Sandqvist argues, that so many of the first dadaist group were Romanians. Sandqvist traces the artistic and personal transformations that took place in the "little Paris of the Balkans" before they took center stage elsewhere, finding sources as varied as symbolism, futurism, and folklore. He points to a connection between Romanian modernists and the Eastern European Yiddish tradition; Tzara, the Janco brothers, and Segal all grew up within Jewish culture and traditions.


Dada and Surrealist Film

By Rudolph Kuenzli

Published by The MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262611213

Cost: $26.95

This groundbreaking collection of thirteen original essays analyzes connections between film and two highly influential twentieth-century movements. The essays, which comment on specific films and deal with theoretical and topical questions, are framed by a documentary section that includes a photographic reproduction of the manuscript scenario for Robert Desnos's and Man Ray's L'Etoile de mer, and an introduction by the editor that provides a cogent working model for the difference between Dada and Surrealist perspectives.


Dada Performance

By Mel Gordon

Published by PAJ Books/Theater Communication Group

ISBN: 9781555541538

Cost: $18.95

The only collection of its kind, this volume includes writings by leading Dadaists: Hugo Ball, Kurt Schwtters, Richard Huelsenbeck, Roger Vitrac, Tristan Tzara, Emmy Hennings, Francis Picabia and others.


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