Why do modern artists imagine the World War Third?
Modern artists have started predicting what the world would look like if we did descend into a third world war. Propaganda has already been created depicting a cyber war, against secret spy intelligence installed on personal devices, showing the destruction of national monuments, and the downfall of a consumer society. The presidency of Donald Trump has brought an increase in Alt-Right following and protests, with many people drawing similarities between the rise of Nazism after the First World War. The current president has been branded countless things; a hero, an idiot, a racist wearing a wig. However, in Mollie Chounard’s recent portrait, he is now a slug. The surrealist portrait depicts a patriotic juggling slug, complete with American flag, clown attire and badly fitting blonde toupee. The slug struggles with issues such as war, the world and nuclear bombs, suggesting that a terrestrial mollusc is running the country.
The DADAists aimed to create brand new art, to replace the Impressionism and Early Expressionism of the late 19th century, and evoke a deeper meaning to political art. They used to sound, literature and graphic design in a new, innovative way to distract themselves from the horrors of war. Postwar Europe was a shell of what it had been. Poverty was rife, and Marcel Duchamp used this to his advantage when anonymously exhibiting his work ‘Fountain’ in 1917. The piece was simply a urinal, displayed with the signature ‘R. Mutt’ on the side. The signature was a clever statement on the current state of Europe. ‘R’ stood for Richard, which was a French slang for money-bags, and ‘Mutt’ was a play on German word ‘armut’, which means poverty. The urinal was also rotated 90 degrees, lying on its back, to perhaps give it new meaning, although Duchamp never commented on this. Duchamp believed that if he signed it, and claimed it was art, it was, and so went ahead with this controversial piece. In Victorian times, newspapers could not even print the word urinal, and so to have one sitting in an exhibition was unheard of and caused a national outcry. This scandalous urinal started the short-lived DADA protest, that was to repulse society, and inspire a new way of political demonstration.