shock and irresponsibility

In his review** of The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology (1952), the modern art critic Thomas B. Hess posed these questions as the ones he felt we should be asking about dada:

[] What has the idea of a collective avant-garde become a matter of such sensitive importance?

[] What makes artists turn so readily to public statements of private positions?

[] How have the elementary strategies of shock and irresponsibility become such elaborate intellectual games?

Below: a portrait of Hess painted by Elaine de Kooning in 1956.


** Saturday Review of Lit,. March 1, 1952, p. 53.