Johannes Baader's Plasto-Dio-Dada-Drama: the Mysticism of the Mass-Media

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The First International Dada Fair held in Berlin in 1920 holds a most significant place within the history of the 20th-century avant-garde (fig. 1). It marks the point where modernist practices of fragmentation, disruption and shock were aimed directly at the German public by utilizing the strategies of contemporary journalism and advertising. Political protest was combined with attack on the exalted status of art, the death of which was famously proclaimed by one placard at the exhibition. A German soldier's uniform with a pig's head was hung from the ceiling, provoking legal action and ensuring good tabloid coverage. The walls of the exhibition rooms were covered with posters and banners which competed for attention with the more traditional paintings of Otto Dix and George Grosz, although their subject matter--crippled war veterans and urban disorder--was suitably confrontational. Photomontage, a new medium recently seized upon by the dadaists, was prominently placed, recycling imagery from the illustrated press for satirical or absurd ends. And in the midst of all this could be found a tower of found objects, newspapers, and textual fragments assembled by Johannes Baader and known as the Plasto-Dio-Dada-Drama
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-602
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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