Dada was a movement that occurred between 1915 until 1922. The movement fell between Cubism and the beginning of Surrealism. Artists who were political exiles met in Switzerland after World War I; however the Dada movement actually happened almost simultaneously in Zurich, Paris and New York. Dada, who was anti-political, anti-art and anti-sense, believed that art's sole purpose is to shock the viewer.
The Rumanian poet Tristan Tzara, the Alsatian sculptor Jean Arp, the German writers Hugo Ball and Richard Hulsenbeck and the French artist Marcel Duchamp are all credited with having started the Dada Movement. Duchamp began it in America as the others were starting it in Zurich and Paris. Tzara, Arp, Ball and Hulsenbeck started the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916. It was a club for artists that had a stage, exhibition hall and featured various lectures and activities. It is said that Tzara capriciously came up with the name Dada after sticking a pin into the first word that came up in the Larousse Dictionary. Actually, the word "dada" is French for "hobby horse".
Marcel Du Champ exhibited in New York as early as 1915. His commonplace and bizarre objects included such things as the portrait "Mona Lisa" featuring a beard and mustache. With Man Ray and the critic Marius de Zayas and the art patron Walter Arensberg, Du Champ published a review called simply, "291". It became the main anti-painting movement publication. Picabia came to New York, and after becoming friends with Du Champ, Picabia returned to Barcelona and founded the review "391". The review "Dada", that Tzara started editing in 1917, was also contributed to by Picabia, who went to Paris The avant-garde writers Breton, Aragon, Soupault, Eluard, Ribemnot-Dessaignes, Peret and Cravan who contributed to the magazine "Litterature" were all enthusiastic about the Dada movement.
Due to disagreements among its participants, the Dada movement broke up in 1921. As a movement, although it was somewhat bizarre, the Dada was extremely influential in paving the way for the Surrealism movement that was started in 1922 by Andre Breton. The society in which these artists lived was undergoing fantastic change. Their art in was really expressing a desire for purity, even though the concept was difficult to find among their strange artworks. By subscribing to these methods, the artists destroyed the very movement that they had created. Because Surrealism was a direct child of Dada, their contributions and influence were quite substantial within the world of art.