Dada was not really a movement, its artists were not actually artists, and its art, well, it was not necessarily art. But there is actually a really interesting story behind Dadaism that is more complex than the last sentence painted.
Dada was a literary and artistic movement that was born in Europe, during the horror of World War I. As a result of the war, many artists, writers, and intellectuals throughout France and German found themselves congregating in the refuge that Zurich, Switzerland offered.
While this group of people was relieved that they found an escape, they were understandably upset that modern European society would allow a war of this magnitude to take place. The channel their anger by taking up the time-honored artistic tradition of protesting.
These writers and artists used any public forum they could use to share their nationalism, rationalism, materialism, and other beliefs that they felt contributed to the war. Their standpoint was that if society was going to head in this direction, then they wanted no part of it or its traditions. This included artistic traditions.
Instead, they decided to create non-art, since art (much like everything else in the world) had no meaning, anyway. The only thing this group had in common was their ideals. In fact, they had a hard time agreeing on a name for this project. “Dada” was the catch-phrase that caught on because it made the least amount of sense.
Data art is whimsical, colorful, witty, sarcastic, and often times absolutely silly. Dadaists thrusted mild obscenities, scatological humor, and visual puns on everyday objects so that it was readily visible to the public eye.
The public found their art, or lack their of, to be revulsive. The dadaists found this very encouraging. The enthusiasm for this (non)movement was contagious, spreading from Zurich to other parts of Europe and even New York City.
As mainstream artists began to give the work serious consideration, in the early 1920s, Dada dissolved within itself, in true fashion.