The Mask

After reading Tzara’s “Dadaist Manifesto” and Agnes Ernst Meyer’s article from 291, “How Versus Why,” I understand Dada to be an anti-aesthetic movement that seeks to intellectualize art and re-define art criticism as a fluid medium rather than as a fixed set of standards for interpreting the emotions and reactions art produces.  Artists take more of a scientific or investigative approach to expression, and criticism centralizes on evaluating how effectively art conveys an intended political message.  One of the images that I think best expresses these attitudes towards art is the cover of the April 1908 issue of The Mask magazine.  The image shows an abstract drawing that resembles a Rorschach test placed within the center of geometric shapes and seems to represent chaos/disorder within systematic structure, an overarching theme of The Waste Land.


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