Comparing Dada to Pop Art

Topics: Dada, Art, Modernism Pages: 5 (1414 words) Published: January 19, 2014
Comparing Dada to Pop Art

In this essay I will compare the Dada and Pop Art movements by depicting the characteristics of each art period, their style and social conditions that may have influenced the creation of each movement. The essay will describe the relationship between the Dada and Pop Art movements. The essay will show their similarities, differences, and the reason why Pop Art did not continue with the Dada tradition although Pop Art also utilized everyday objects as subjects to create art just like the Dada. Lastly, the essay will show how Pop Art is still very much part of today’s art world.


Dada or Daism was an informal international art movement, with artists and followers in Europe and North America. The beginnings of this movement coincided with the outbreak of World War I. This artistic and literary movement started in 1916 and ended around 1923. Dada was born out of negative reaction to the World War I and as a way to protest against the conventional middle-class which the artists believed were the cause of the war. Dada excluded reason and logic, valuing nonsense, irrationality, irony and humor. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, manifestoes, art theory, theatre and graphic design. Art in the traditional sense was all about aesthetics, Dada represented the opposite. Dada’s intention was to offend and shock common sense. (“Pop art/dada”, 2013)

Dada artists developed the collage, photomontage, assemblage and readymade techniques. The collage, which imitated the techniques used during cubism through the pasting of cut pieces of paper items to include items such as transportation tickets, maps, plastic wrappers in order to represent features of life instead of still life. Photomontage – this technique used scissors and glue rather than paintbrushes and paints to express views of modern life from images represented by the media. The assemblage technique - is a three-dimensional variations of a collage; which again used everyday objects to produce meaningful or meaningless (relating to the war) pieces of work. Lastly, the “readymades” - these were everyday objects found or purchased and declared art by an artist. These objects would sometimes have titles and/or the artist’s signature to provoke deeper thinking on the viewer. During this period there was no predominant medium to Dadaist art. (“Dada”, 2013)


Pop Art (short for Popular Art) emerged in England in the early 1950s and late 1950s in the United States lasting through the early 1970s. Pop Art origins developed for different reasons in Great Britain and the United States. In the United States, it was a response to impersonal, mundane reality, irony and parody. In Britain, the origin of post-World War II also included irony and parody but its main focus was on the images of American popular culture. Pop art was also a form of rebellion against abstract expressionism whose audience was a greedy middle class, according to the artists. Pop Art understood popular culture or so called material culture which was focused on the post-World War II generation who rebelled against the mysterious undertone of the abstract art. Pop artists wanted to express their hopefulness after so much poverty had been experienced during the World War II. (“Pop art-”, 2013)

Pop Art was rooted in urban environment – London and New York. Pop Art used pieces of familiar images like advertising, labels, comic books, ordinary cultural objects, film, and television, to express conceptual formal relationships. In addition, the artist also duplicated common mass production images such as beer bottles, soup cans, comic strips, road sign paintings, collages and sculptures either by incorporating these objects into their paintings, collages and sculptures. Artists usually used very bright colors, and flat images. Pop art is symbolic and realistic. Lastly, Pop Art’s subjects are non-traditional...

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