Dadaglobe: Tzara’s grand artistic-literary project reconstructed at MoMA

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Dadaglobe solicitation form letter to Alfred Vagts, signed by Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, and Walter Serner. 1920. Typewriting on Mouvement Dada letterhead,  10 5/8 x 8 1/4″ (27 x 21 cm). Archivo Lafuente

NEW YORK — If you thought the stock of Dada data had already been exhausted, you haven’t met Dada scholar Adrian Sudhalter, whose six years of intensive archival research in its own archives as well as the Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet have yielded the Museum of Modern Art exhibition Dadaglobe Reconstructed, which opened June 12 and continues through September 18. The exhibition reunites for the first time more than 100 works by more than 40 artists gathered by Tristan Tzara for a planned, but ultimately unrealized (because of insufficient financial support) 1921 anthology, Dadaglobe. Tzara and collaborator Francis Picabia solicited submissions from 50 artists and writers in 10 countries, divided into four catetories — photographic self-portraits, photographs of artworks, original drawings, and designs for book pages — as well as prose and poems. It’s no wonder that the Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet, now part of the University of Paris in the Latin Quartier, was a goldmine for such material. In 1920, the fashion designer and art patron Doucet engaged as librarians for his burgeoning resource a certain Andre Breton, followed in 1922 by Louis Aragon. In its early years, the library received original contributions from Max Jacob (the manuscript for no less than “Cornet à dés”), Blaise Cendrars (“La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France,” his collaboration with Sonia Delaunay, which still sets the standard for the livre d’artistes more than a century after its publication), and the manuscripts for Guillaume Apollinaire’s classics “Alcools,” “Bestiaire,” and “Poète assassiné.”

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Francis Picabia (French, 1879–1953). Rastadada Painting (Tableau Rastadada). 1920. Cut-and-pasted printed paper on paper with ink, 7 1/2 x 6 3/4″ (19 x 17.1 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Picabia. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (by exchange), 2014. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy MoMA.

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Max Ernst (French and American, born Germany, 1891–1976) and Johannes Theodor Baargeld (Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand Gruenwald) (German, 1892–1927). Manifesto W 5: Cover. 1920. Cut-and-pasted printed papers on colored paper, 11 1/4 × 12 1/8″ (28.5 × 30.8 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Ernst and Baargeld. Collection Natalie Seroussi. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

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Max Ernst (French and American, born Germany, 1891–1976). The Chinese Nightingale (Die chinesische Nachtigall). 1920. Cut-and-pasted printed papers and ink on paper, 4 13/16 × 3 7/16″ (12.2 × 8.8 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Ernst. Musée de Grenoble. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy MoMA.

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Nic. Aluf (studio photographer, 1884–1954). Portrait of Sophie Taeuber with her Dada Head. 1920. Gelatin silver print, 8 1/4 × 6 9/16″ (20.9 × 16.6 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Sophie Taeuber (Swiss, 1889–1943). Galerie Berinson, Berlin. Artwork © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy MoMA.

 

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