Dada Futures: Circulating Replicants, Surrogates, and Participants

UIMA@IMU Visual Classroom, Iowa Memorial Union, third floor
125 N. Madison Street, Iowa City

Dada began in Zurich in the midst of the First World War and its hold on the international public imagination grew as rumors of its provocative activities spread. Its initial members disrupted the normal business of art exhibition, production, and even criticism with their performances, shows, and publications. Against the idea that the solemn contemplation of art might elevate our sensibilities and offer an escape from the pressures of our everyday, they worked on what is often considered our basest instincts by inducing revulsion, inappropriate laughter, desire, or even boredom in order to force us to confront the challenges of our present all the more fully. These ideas gained traction in numerous artistic enterprises, most notably Fluxus, but continue to hold sway to this day, their ideas and artifacts circulating in the form of facsimile editions, and now digital reproductions.

Dada Futures considers the various unruly progeny the movement spawned and the projects it continues to seed, artistic, scholarly and otherwise. The show draws upon the remarkable strengths of UI Special Collections and the UIMA to spark conversations across disciplines and specializations. We celebrate past, present, and future collaborative efforts among University of Iowa faculty, the Libraries and Art Museum. Forty years ago, the interdisciplinary symposium and exhibition Dada Artifacts catalyzed the establishment of the International Dada Archive and Research Center at the University of Iowa, which has shaped the way we engage Dada and its aftermath.

This exhibition is curated by Joyce Tsai, UIMA with Timothy Shipe, UI Libraries, Jennifer Buckley and Stephen Voyce, Department of English with promotional support from the Obermann Center.

To find out more about the next chapter in its history, please join us at the symposium Dada Futures on February 16–17, where lectures and discussions will be interspersed with film, performances, and outbursts of undignified enthusiasm.


Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Valise)

Marchel Duchamp (French 1887–1968)

Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Valise)

, 1941/1966
Replicas and reproductions of 80 works encased in red leather box, Variable measurements
Museum purchase with funds from Philip D. Adler Fund, 2001.79a-aa, © Association Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2018