dada and surrealism
Salvador Dalí, The Persistence Of Memory (1931)
4. “Dada and Surrealism.” Sept 23, 2009.
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The extent to which the Surrealist artists understood the theories of Sigmund Freud is debatable but their interest in Freud should be distinguished from Dada’s anti-rational stance. Although Surrealism supposedly celebrated the irrational, their ideas were based upon Freud’s very rational model of the human mind, bisected into the conscious and the unconscious mind and mapped into the id, the ego, and the superego. Surrealism also rejected the Dada disgust with self-indulgent expressionism but returning to individual vision, but the site of this vision was the untapped unconscious mind. In contrast to the deliberately disruptive and antagonistic tactics of the Dada artists, the Surrealists sought what they called “the Marvelous,” or that magically unexpected encounter when the ordinary suddenly became extraordinary.
In the early days, I didn’t even know what to call the stuff my life was made of. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that someone in a distant land had the same idea—AND a nice, short name for it. 
Many Dadaists believed that the ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ of bourgeois capitalist society had led people into war. They expressed their rejection of that ideology in artistic expression that appeared to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality.   For example, George Grosz later recalled that his Dadaist art was intended as a protest “against this world of mutual destruction.” 
‘Fountain’ by Marcel Duchamp (replica), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
The Dadaist movement included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals; passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture were topics often discussed in a variety of media. Key figures in the movement included Hugo Ball, Marcel Duchamp, Emmy Hennings, Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, Francis Picabia, George Grosz, Man Ray, Beatrice Wood, Kurt Schwitters, Hans Richter, and Max Ernst, among others. The movement influenced later styles like the avant-garde and downtown music movements, and groups including surrealism and pop art.
They believed that a metaphysical, surrealistic, dreamwork approach to social change was superior to the methods of Dadaism. They wanted Surrealism to show that representing objects as they were was important, but that they should be expressed with a thesis, antithesis, and a synthesis between the two in a fully open space for imagination.
Dadaism and Surrealism were two avant-garde movements of the early 20th century that have had a profound worldwide cultural influence and were both political, societal, and personally introspective expressions of thought both visually and intellectually. They inspired other art movements, literature, and philosophy and were one of the foundations of Modernism.
Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Composition of Circles and Overlapping Angles, oil on canvas, 495×641 mm, 1930 (New York, Museum of Modern Art); © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, photo © Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY
International in scope and diverse in artistic output, both Dada and Surrealism were artistic, literary and intellectual movements of the early 20th century that were instrumental in defining Modernism. The Dada movement, launched in 1916 in Zurich by poets and artists such as Tristan Tzara and Hans Arp, was a direct reaction to the slaughter, propaganda and inanity of World War I. Independent groups linked by common ideas sprung up soon afterwards in New York, Berlin, Paris and elsewhere. These various groups did not share a universal style, but rather were connected by their rejection of idealism, stale artistic and intellectual conventions and modern society’s unchecked embrace of ‘rationalism’ and ‘progress’. They condemned the nationalist and capitalist values that led to the cataclysm of the war and employed unorthodox techniques, performances and provocations to jolt the rest of society into self-awareness. The absurdity of Dada activities created a mirror of the absurdity in the world around them. Dada was anti-aesthetic, anti-rational and anti-idealistic. Key figures such as Marcel Duchamp disturbed the art world with his ready-mades such as Fountain (which is simply a urinal). Dada’s challenge to conventional notions of ‘high art’ radically impacted later developments in conceptual art, performance art and post-modernism among others.
The Archive has also microfilmed a number of public and private manuscript collections containing material on the Dada movement and on individual dadaists. Detailed finding aids exist for each of these microfilmed collections.
The collection of the International Dada Archive is made up of works by and about the dadaists including books, articles, microfilmed manuscript collections, videorecordings, sound recordings, and online resources. Primary access to the entire collection is through the International Online Bibliography of Dada, a catalog containing approximately 60,000 titles. This collection is housed in various departments of the University of Iowa Libraries; most of its holdings are in either the Main Library or the Art Library.