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Introduction to the exhibition: Dada

Glenn Lowry
Introduction Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

DIRECTOR, GLENN LOWRY: Hello, I’m Glenn Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art. Welcome to Dada, the first major exhibition in the United States to focus on this important avant-garde movement. Dada emerged during a period of profound social and psychological crisis. International in scope, with centers in Berlin, Cologne, Hanover, New York, Paris, and Zurich, Dada reacted to the horrors of WWI -- and to the shock of modernity itself -- with irony, humor and moral outrage.

Leah Dickerman, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, co-organized this exhibition with Laurent Le Bon, curator at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

CURATOR, LEAH DICKERMAN: When art historians talk about Dada, they often use the words ‘absurd,’ or ‘anti- art,’ or ‘nonsense.’ But I think what it misses is how much Dada was a profound, ethical response to historical circumstances.

GLENN LOWRY: Anne Umland is a curator of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art.

CURATOR, ANNE UMLAND: Dada can be seen as fundamentally reacting to the devastation of WWI, but in an even more profound way, the Dadaists are grappling with the seismic shifts in the modern world and their culture at large.

GLENN LOWRY: Dada emerged simultaneously in Zurich and New York, two cities that provided neutral havens at the onset of the war. You can enter the exhibition in two ways, a choice reflecting Dada’s dual points of origin. Enter on the left to begin in New York; go right to begin in Zurich. I hope you enjoy this provocative exhibition. For detailed instructions on using this Acoustiguide, press 1-0-1 at any time.

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