Dada dominates Humboldt Park's Out of Line Gallery beginning Saturday


Leyser interacts with one of her pieces "Arachnophobia"

Out of Line Gallery, 2812 W Chicago Ave., in Humboldt Park, will be dominated by a series of events starting Sat., July 28, at 7 p.m. with the opening of the exhibit Dada Turns the Tables: Art Show & Performance

"Living in the shadow of the WWI bloodbath, Dada used art as a metaphor for life. Like the war, it doesn’t make sense. Or so it seems," says gallery owner Ayala Leyser. 


“The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus Before Three Witnesses: A.B., P.E. and the Artist”, 1926.

"It was a protest movement that used art to unveil fascism, corruption, racism, decadence and hypocrisy during the Weimar era and the years leading to WWII. It is called the Art of Revolt." 

Artists during that period used collage, photomontage, painting, ‘readymade’ objects and oddly juxtaposed images in a seemingly random, senseless order. Cut-up magazine, random words were often incorporated into the image.

"It created intriguing compositions, metaphors and concepts with a new more implicit surreal yet very real meaning," explains Leyser. 

"Hannah Hoech, best known for her Weimar period work, was a German Dada artist who was one of the originators of photo montage. She called Dada: the Police of Police. Marcel Duchamp’s art aimed to demonstrate that everything can be something else, alluding to the temporary and relativistic status of our basic beliefs." 

An example is Max Ernst's muscular Virgin in a bright red dress is spanking Jesus, who appears to be about the size of an eight-year-old with Ernst, Surrealist artist Breton and poet Eluard looking on.

Denounced by his own father, the piece provoked a scandal and shocked the public. However, the reaction was not so much because of the Madonna showing a fit of bad temper but for the fact that Jesus' halo appears to be lost.


Paul Klee's "Two Men Meet, Each Believing the Other to Be of Higher Rank"

The 1903 Paul Klee etching, is explained by Leyser, "The two naked men encountering one another in what appears to be a remote, barren place are sheepishly bowing to each other as without their uniforms they can’t tell who is higher in the hierarchy of power. They seem to be Wilhelm II from Prussia, and Franz Joseph I from Austria.  Klee’s anti-authoritarian spirit flares again producing a wonderful visual parody and a warning to men-kind in pre-WWI central Europe."

Leyser has set up this exhibit and series of events to be an homage to Dada and its relevance to now and the future. She is displaying prints of early Dadaists as well as the work of four local Dada style artists Andrej Domanski, Helen Jones- Mayer, Helene Smith-Romer and Penelope Thrasher 

Saturday's opening will also include performances by Chicago Jazz duo, vocalist Joanie Pallatto and pianist Bradley Sparrow as well as flutist Janice Misurell-Mitchell, who will perform Weimar genre as well as Dada style music, vocal and poetry. Leyser will speak about: ‘Dada the meaning of Meaninglessness in art and poetry.’ 

For the evening there is a $9 cover, drinks and refreshments will be provided. Phone is 847.224.9344. The exhibit will hang until Sept. 2 and there will be a series of salons.



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