In Advance of the Broken Arm (1915)
In Advance of the Broken Arm (1915) simply is an average shovel – a readymade item absent any modifications by the artist, yet by Dada standards it is art. This shovel is the quintessential piece of Dada art because it defies every aspect of bourgeois art. The shovel has no artistic effort, there is nothing different about the piece from any ordinary shovel, and it means nothing. Perhaps the only artistic aspect of the shovel is the title, which foresees a future of a broken shaft. This portrayal of art completely undermines the effort and skill of practically any other art movement we have studied, or the bourgeoisie had encountered at the time, causing anger and resentment. However, this is exactly what a Dada artist would want to occur – to force people to question the role of the artist, the purpose of art, and the artistic norms of the time. I find no contradiction between this art piece and the Dada manifesto which supports “nothingness” as art, which is exactly what this piece is. Although I am all for rebelling against societal norms through artistic means, finding admiration in similar pioneers such as Jim Morrison, yet the Dada movement to means seems pointless and simply created to seek attention through chaos, stress, and vexation.