The twentieth century saw a proliferation of art inspired by the culture of critique. The exposure and promotion of this art grew alongside the ever-expanding Jewish control of the media, and Jewish penetration and eventual capture of the Western art establishment. Jewish writers, painters and composers sought to rewrite the rules of artistic expression — to allow accommodation for their own technical limitations, and to facilitate the creation (and elite acceptance) of works intended as a rebuke to the supposed evils of Western civilizational norms.
The Jewish intellectual substructure of many of these twentieth century art movements was manifest in their unfailing hostility toward the political, cultural and religious traditions of Europe and European-derived societies. I previously examined how the rise of Abstract Expressionism exemplified this tendency in the United States, and coincided with the usurping of the American art establishment by a group of radical Jewish intellectuals. In Europe, Jewish influence on Western art reached a peak during the interwar years. This era, when the work of many artists was suffused with radical politics, was the heyday of the Jewish avant-garde.
A prominent example of a cultural movement from this time with important Jewish involvement was Dada. The Dadaists challenged the very foundations of Western civilization which they regarded, in the context of the destruction of World War I, and continuing anti-Semitism throughout Europe, as pathological. The artists and intellectuals of Dada responded to this socio-political diagnosis with assorted acts of cultural subversion. Dada was a movement that was destructive and nihilistic, irrational and absurdist, and which preached the overturning of every cultural tradition of the European past, including of rationality itself. The Dadaists “aimed to wipe the philosophical slate clean” and lead “the way to a new world order.”[i] While there were many non-Jews involved in Dada, the Jewish contribution was fundamental in shaping its intellectual tenor as a movement, for Dada was as much an attitude and way of thinking as a mode of artistic output. Read more