Dadaglobe Reconstructed, on view at The Museum of Modern Art from June 12 through September 18, 2016, will reunite over 100 works by more than 40 artists that were submitted to Tristan Tzara for his planned but unrealized 1921 anthology Dadaglobe. In Paris in late 1920, Tzara, a poet and a co-founder of Dada, drew up a proposal for an ambitious anthology to document the movement’s artistic and literary production. Along with artist Francis Picabia, Tzara sent solicitation letters to 50 artists and writers in 10 countries, requesting four categories of artworks—photographic self-portraits, photographs of artworks, original drawings, and designs for book pages—along with prose, poetry, or other verbal “inventions.” While some artists submitted existing works, many created new ones for the volume, making Dadaglobe one of the period’s most generative catalysts for the production of new Dada works. Due to financial and interpersonal difficulties, Dadaglobe was never realized, and while many of the works submitted are well-known today, their origin in this project has long been forgotten.
The result of six years of intensive archival research by Dada scholar Adrian Sudhalter that began with her examination of works in MoMA’s collection, Dadaglobe Reconstructed resituates iconic works of Dada in the original circumstances of their making. Tzara retained most of the contributions to Dadaglobe during his lifetime, but following his death in 1963 they were dispersed in public and private collections worldwide. This exhibition reunites for the first time the photographs, drawings, photomontages, collages, and manuscripts that were sent to Tzara through the mail for reproduction on Dadaglobe’s pages, along with related archival material. Dadaglobe Reconstructed explores how artists recognized the potential of artwork in reproduction as a new artistic field, the cross-disciplinarity of their efforts, and their creation of works in dialogue with one another despite geopolitical boundaries, and demonstrates the resonance of those ideas today.