Dada

Dada logo

Raoul Hausmann. The Art Critic. 1919-1920

Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

** NARRATOR:** Culled from various everyday sources, Raoul Hausmann's photomontage The Art Critic is a blistering critique of traditional art.

Curator Anne Umland:

CURATOR, ANNE UMLAND: It features a strangely disproportioned figure, an oversized head spliced on to a nattily-suited body, that holds a tremendously oversized, suggestively placed Venus pencil. The work is often said to be a portrait of Hausmann's friend and fellow Berlin Dadaist, George Grosz. The picture’s ostensible subject, the art critic, is, of course, deeply fraught with irony, since the longer you look at the crudely drawn eyes, the more you realize that they are unseeing.

Like many Dada works, this one is filled with self-references. You can see on the right hand side a snippet of Hausmann's business card, placed directly above a silhouetted figure filled in with newsprint that is most likely based upon a photograph of Hausmann himself.

The background consists of one of Hausmann's sound poems … simple letters that were randomly chosen at Hausmann's request by a commercial printer, and then were intoned in public performances.

NARRATOR: Hausmann’s sound-poems can be heard in this gallery. Bold and provocative, he loved to excoriate the German establishment.

RAOUL HAUSMANN [actor]: Who is the philistine that should be upset by Dadaism? It is the German writer and intellectual, who explodes with rage because his formally perfect schmalz-bread soul has been left to bake in the sun of ridicule. … No, gentlemen, art is not in danger—art no longer exists! It is dead.

0:00
5 / 19