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Johannes Theodor Baargeld: Typical Vertical Mess as Depiction of the Dada Baargeld, 1920
Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917

Dadaism is an artistic movement in modern art that started around World War I. Its purpose was to ridicule the meaninglessness of the modern world. Its peak was 1916 to 1922, and it influenced surrealism, pop art, and punk rock. It favored going against the standards of society. Followers of Dadaism included Antonin Artaud, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali. A later version, called Neo-Dada, arose in the 1960s.

Dadaism is also closely associated with the concepts of the grotesque, the absurd and the macabre that were communicated through the arts slightly later in the twentieth century. The idea of ridiculing the absurdity of existence finds its most poignant expression through the dramatic art of Samuel Beckett and the so called Paris school of dramatists that included Arthur Adamov, Jean Genet, and Eugene O'Neill.

The name itself is reflection that the art was designed to seem meaningful when it is in fact a reflection of how overvalued societal norms and expectations had become. The word "Dada" in and of itself has no meaning.