Dec 4, 2008

CAINed & disABLEd installation images

Shaun Doyle & Mally Malinson

Dada Death, Tim Bailey
Dada Death

In 1918, George Grosz walked down the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin dressed as Dada Death. Although primarily known as a painter, photomonteur and illustrator, Grosz’s action that day – that is, confronting audiences unexpectedly wearing a skull mask and carrying a cane - can be considered one of the first art events in the public sphere that combined performance and activism.

The Berlin Dadas took on ‘revolutionary’ names (Grosz was often called 'Propagandada') and processed ceremonially through the streets, singing anti-military songs. At the first Berlin Dada soiree in February 1918, Grosz recited his poetry (‘You-sons-of-bitches, materialists/bread-eaters, flesh = eaters = vegetarians!!/professors, butchers’ apprentices, pimps! you bums!’) and then urinated on an Expressionist painting.

In Grosz’s autobiography, he writes that ‘Artistically speaking we were 'dadaists' in those days. If that meant anything it was a disquiet, a dissatisfaction, a delight in mockery, that had all been fermenting a long time already. Every defeat, every upheaval gives birth to such movements. In another period we might have been flagellants.’

Dada Death, George Grosz, 1918

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