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In the second and third decades of this century a new kind of artistic movement swept Europe and America Its very name Dada--two identical syllables without the obligatory -ism--distinguished it from the long line of avant-gardes which have determined the history of the arts in the last 200 years Its proponents came from all parts of Europe and the United States at a time when their native countries were battling one another in the deadliest war ever known They did not restrict themselves to being painters writers dancers or musicians most of them were involved in several art forms and in breaking down the boundaries which kept the arts distinct from one another Indeed the Dadaists were not content to make art They wanted to affect all aspects of Western civilization to take part in the revolutionary changes which were the inevitable result of the chaos of the First World War They were not interested in writing books and painting pictures which a public would admire in an uninvolved manner rather they aimed to provoke the public into reacting to their activities to the Dadaists a violently negative reaction was better than a passive acceptance The Dada movement was perhaps the most decisive single influence on the development of twentieth-century art and its innovations are so pervasive as to be virtually taken for granted today Because of its importance for both artistic and social history Dada has become the subject of intense scholarly interest on the part of researchers in language literature art music theater sociology the history of ideas--in fact every field which deals in some way with contemporary culture and civilization And the single most important bibliographic resource for these scholars is the International Dada Archive at The University of Iowa What was Dada Why is there a Dada Archive And why of all places is it in Iowa Of all the influential artistic movements which flourished in the first half
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