Scandal in Zürich: Do you know your Dada?

I had a little time between appointments yesterday – near Zurich’s main station. So I jumped at the chance to go to the Landesmuseum and learn a bit about the Dadaists and Dadaism.

And found…a urinal referred to as both the modern ‘Mona Lisa’ and the most important art work of the 20th century. What you been smokin? was my first thought actually. So insightful, I know. Then, as you can see,  I sketched Marcel Duchamp’s masterpiece.

In 1917 Marcel Duchamp caused one of the biggest scandals in art history with this urinal.

As I drew, I thought even if Marcel was taking the piss  (he wasn’t actually, he was rebelling against the horrors of WWI) – this is definitely something you’d find in Switzerland – an absolutely immaculate toilet. 

Switzerland’s major contribution to art history, Dadaism was founded in February 1916 by immigrants and exiles at Zürich’s Cabaret Voltaire. The art movement tapered off around 1924, but led to surrealism and eventually the early roots of punk.

The multimedia exhibition is small – easy to see in an hour and then stop for coffee at the museum café – and open until 28 March.  The CHF10 ticket price also gets you into the rest of the museum where there are plenty of sketching opportunities – so on a rainy afternoon – why not?

The highlight for me – four black walls of floor-to-ceiling visitor grafitti enclosing the exhibition. You are invited to doodle or scribble your response or non-response to Dada right there on the wall. I think the Dadaists would have loved that. I sure did.

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