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secondary literature


The International Online Bibliography of Dada is the online catalog of the International Dada Archive at the University of Iowa Libraries. The catalog includes materials in all formats that have been cataloged for the collection, including books, essays in books, periodical articles, manuscripts, sound and videorecordings, and other media related to the Dada movement and to the individual dadaists. These materials are located throughout the University of Iowa Libraries, but are primarily housed in the Main Library and the Art Library. Most of the manuscript holdings are on microfilms that were made in various public and private collections in Europe and North America in the early 1980s, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Jerome Foundation.

Hanne Bergius
'Bibliographie', in Hanne Bergius, Das Lachen Dadas. Die Berliner Dadaisten und ihre Aktionen. Werkbund-Archiv, Band 19 (Anabas Verlag : Gießen-Lahn 1989) 403-416.

Adrian V. Sudhalter
'Selected Bibliography', in Adrian V. Sudhalter, Johannes Baader and the Demise of Wilhelmine Culture: Architecture, Dada, and Social Critique, 1875-1920 (New York University 2005) 460-494.

Rainer Topitsch
'Literaturverzeichnis / Bibliographie', in Johannes Baader - "Architekt der Welt" (Düsseldorf 1995): 107-121.


Hubert van den Berg
Avantgarde und Anarchismus. Dada in Zürich und Berlin. Beiträge zur neueren Literaturgeschichte, Band 167 (Universitätsverlag C. Winter : Heidelberg 1998). Originally PhD publication Avantgarde und Anarchismus. Untersuchungen zur Bedeutung des Anarchismus in der Programmatik des Dadaismus in Zürich und Berlin, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1998. Reviewed by Richard Sheppard for Journal of European Studies (December 1999).

Kristina C. Martin
Johannes Baader and George Grosz : strategies of cultural politics in post World War I Berlin (University of Iowa 1995). MA thesis.

Adrian V. Sudhalter
Johannes Baader and the Demise of Wilhelmine Culture: Architecture, Dada, and Social Critique, 1875-1920 (New York University 2005).

[abstract] This dissertation examines the life and work of Johannes Baader (1875-1955), focussing on the years leading up to and including his involvement with the Berlin Dada group. A practicing architect, Baader abandoned architecture to become a writer and, in 1918, became a founding member of Berlin Dada.
Although known for his public provocations and his now-lost three-dimensional assemblage, the Great Plasto-Dio-Dada-Drama, exhibited at the First International Dada-Fair in 1920, Baader remains the most understudied member of the group. The reasons for Baader's neglect are manifold. The small number of surviving works from the Dada period is one reason, his reputation for being insane, another. Perhaps the most serious obstacle to Baader's recognition, however, was richard Huelsenbeck's claim in the movement's first chronicle, the Dada Almanach (1920), that Baader "had nothing to do with Dada, neither in establishing it nor in representing the Dadaist idea." Baader's collages and assemblages of the Dada period differ from those of his colleagues. While the works of all of the Berlin Dadaists may be seen to register the aftershocks of the War in the fragmentation of their form, iconographically they tend to concentrate upon the present.
Baader's works stand out by way of their retrospective orientation. Comprising material often drawn from his own past, Baader's dada works are all essentially self-portraits. Baader recognized that his lifetime chronologically paralleled the "rise" and "fall" of the Prussian-led German state between its founding in 1871 and its military defeat in 1918, and proposed that his biography be considered a mirror of this period. Just as the era had been brought to a violent end, in his Dada self-portraits Baader represents a life exploded by the First World War.
Adopting the biographical model, chronological parameters, and retrospective orientation found in these works, this thesis reconstructs Baader's biography until 1920, and recontextualizes the fragments found in his collages and assemblages. This effects a reconsideration of Berlin Dada in general: a movement commonly understood to have reacted to its tumultuous times but rarely considered in terms of its historical consciousness [source: Sudhalter, Johannes Baader].

Hubert Schings
Narrenspiele oder die Erschaffung einer verkehrten Welt : Studien zu Mythos und Mythopoiese im Dadaismus. Europäische Hochschulschriften. Reihe 28; Kunstgeschichte 232 (Peter Lang : Frankfurt am Main etc. 1996). PhD Saarland University.

Rainer Topitsch
Johannes Baader - "Architekt der Welt". Magisterarbeit Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf 1995. Read also his 'Johannes Baader - Das Leben als Medienereignis', in Sprache im technischen Zeitalter 36 (September 1998) Nr. 146, 224-234 [not online; archive].



Erste Erste Internationale Dada Messe. Ausstellung und Verkauf dadaistischer Erzeugnisse / [texts by] Wieland Herzfelde, Raoul Hausmann (Kunsthandlung Dr. Otto Burchard : Berlin 1920) [Source: Digital Dada Library].

Avant-Gardes. Selections from the Merrill C. Berman Collection (Ubu Gallery : New York NY 2004). This catalogue was produced in conjunction with the exhbition 'Avant-Gardes. Selections from the Merrill C. Berman Collection' at Ubu Gallery, New York (February 5–April 24, 2004).


Sabine Eckmann
Collage und Assemblage als neue Kunstgattungen DADAS (Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König : Köln 1995).


Bernd Baader
'Dada Berlin und Johannes Baader', in Günther Metz (Hg.), Visionen und Aufbrüche. Zur Krise der modernen Musik 1908-1933 (Kassel 1994): 337-355.

Timothy O. Benson
'Mysticism, Materialism, and the Machine in Berlin Dada', in Art Journal 46, no. 1 'Mysticism and Occultism in Modern Art' (Spring 1987) 46-55 [Stable URL:].

Hanne Bergius
'Zur phantastischen Politik der Anti-Politik Johannes Baader oder Die unbefleckte Empfängnis der Welt', in Hanne Bergius, et al. (hrsg.), Johannes Baader. Oberdada. Schriften, Manifeste, Flugblätter, Billets, Werke und Taten / hrsg. und mit einem Nachwort von Hanne Bergius, Norbert Miller und Karl Riha (Anabas Verlag : Lahn-Gießen 1977): 181-191.

Hanne Bergius
'Johannes Baader, Oberdada : exzentrische Parodie des Architektendaseins', in Burckhard Bergius, et al. (hrsg.), Architektur, Stadt und Politik. Julius Posener zum 75. Geburtstag. Werkbund Archiv, Jahrbuch 4 (Anabas Verlag : Lahn-Gießen 1979): 77-88.

Hanne Bergius
'Radikale Sanierung des Erd- und Weltballs : "Oberdada" Johannes Baader', in Hanne Bergius, Das Lachen DADAs. Die Berliner Dadaisten und ihre Aktionen. Werkbund-Archiv, Band 19 (Anabas : Gießen 1989): 144-161.

Hanne Bergius
'Architecture as the Dionysian-Apollonian Process of Dada', in Alexandre Kostka and Irving Wohlfahrt (eds.), Nietzsche and "An Architecture of our Minds". Issues and Debates (The Getty Research Institute : Los Angeles 1999): 115-139.

Hanne Bergius
"Dada Triumphs!" Dada Berlin 1917-1923. Artistry of Polarities, Montages-Metamechanics-Manifestations. Crisis and the Arts. The History of Dada, volume 5 (G.K. Hall & Co. : Farmington Hills MI 2003): 260-267.

Hanne Bergius
'Der Merzbau im Kontext des Architektonischen. Dekonstruktive Einflüsse von Dada Berlin, im speziellen von Johannes Baader', lecture for the symposium 'Kurt Schwitters and the Avant-Garde', June 29 through July 1, 2007 at the Sprengel Museum Hannover [online]; available at <> [accessed 25 July 2013].

Stephen C. Foster
'Johannes Baader : Kunst und Kulturkritik', in Wolfgang Paulsen und Helmut G. Hermann (hrsg.), Sinn aus Unsinn. Dada International. Zwölftes Amherster Kolloquium zur Deutschen Literatur (Francke Verlag : Bern, München 1982): 153-176.

Stephen C. Foster
'Mediale Wahrnehmung und städtische Realität : die Kunst des Johannes Baader', in Die Zukunft der Metropolen, Paris, London, New York, Berlin. Volume 1 (Reimer Verlag/Technische Universität : Berlin 1984): 528-531.

Stephen C. Foster
'Johannes Baader : the Complete Dada', in Stephen C. Foster (ed.), Dada/Dimensions. Studies in Fine Arts: the Avant-Garde, No. 48 (UMI Research Press : Ann Arbor 1985) 249-271.

Stephen C. Foster
'Hausmann-Baader : der eigentliche Dada', in Kurt Schwitters Almanach No. 5 (Hannover 1986) 163-189.

Stephen C. Foster
'The mortality of roles : Johannes Baader and spiritual materialism', in Dada Culture. Critical texts on the avant-garde / ed. by Dafydd Jones. Avant-Garde Critical Studies 18 (Rodopi : Amsterdam 2006) 187-199 [ingentaconnect].

[abstract] The assumption of roles among figures from the early twentieth-century avant-garde, specifically figures associated with Dada, is all too often discussed in the misleading terms of deliberate attempts at synthesising roles. Attempting to understand such a figure as the Berlin Oberdada Johannes Baader, however, demands both a critique of and departure from any notion of him as a synthesiser of roles; any role that Baader assumed became useful to him only in its assumption of relationships to other roles, and in certain key instances in its equation with other roles. This essay develops a study of Baader that not so much collapses distinction between the roles of architect, artist and God, as to preserve the distinction of each in order to work through the others. Whilst maintaining the overarching and pivotal identity of Architekt Baader, Johannes Baader could maximise his application of a conceptual model for the reformulation of all dimensions of cultural activity and reorganisation of cultural mechanics. The effect, as argued in this essay, was not to provide a synthesis of truths but to constitute Baader's truth in the disclosure of culture.

Sabine T. Kriebel
'Johannes Baader', in Leah Dickerman (ed.), Dada. Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris (National Gallery of Art : Washington DC 2005): 162-163.

Andréi B. Nakov
'"Dada ist eine Geisteshaltung"', in Der deutsche Spiesser ärgert sich. Raoul Hausmann 1886-1971 (Berlinische Galerie etc. : Berlin etc. 1994) 33-54.

Andréi B. Nakov
'Johannes Baader. Collages', in Laurent Le Bon (dir.), Dada (Editions du Centre Pompidou : Paris 2005) 128-131.

Karl Riha
'Porträt Johannes Baader Oberdada', in Karl Riha, Da Dada da war ist Dada da. Aufsätze und Dokumente (München, Wien 1980) 144-168. Reprinted in Karl Riha, Tatü Dada. Dada und nochmals Dada bis heute. Aufsätze und Dokumente (Hofheim 1987): 137-154.

Karl Riha
'Der Oberdada im Urteil der Dadaisten', in Hanne Bergius, et al. (hrsg.), Johannes Baader. Oberdada. Schriften, Manifeste, Flugblätter, Billets, Werke und Taten / hrsg. und mit einem Nachwort von Hanne Bergius, Norbert Miller und Karl Riha (Anabas Verlag : Lahn-Gießen 1977) 192-201.

Dieter Scholz
'Präsident Baader', chapter III.7 in Dieter Scholz, Pinsel und Dolche : anarchistische Ideen in Kunst und Kunsttheorie 1840-1920 (Reimer Verlag : Berlin 1999) 388-412.

Michael White
'Johannes Baader's The Great Dio-Dada-Drama : the Mysticism of the Mass Media', in Modernism-Modernity 8 (2001) 583-602.

[abstract] Proposes a reinterpretation of Johannes Baader’s 'Plasto-Dio-Dada-Drama' (1920), a no longer extant sculptural assemblage piece shown at the First International Dada Fair, Berlin. The author suggests that the artist intended to create specific national historical and autobiographical meaning based on the full title Das Grosse Plasto-Dio-Dada-Drama: Deutschlands Grösse und Untergang oder Die Phantastische Lebensgeschichte des Oberdada [= The Great Plasto-Dio-Dada-Drama: Germany’s Greatness and Decline or The Fantastic Life of the Oberdada]. Asserts that the tower’s pyramidal and spiral form represents this ascent and decline as well as (the author’s personal and empire’s) death and remembrance. Discusses contemporary urban audiences and emerging aesthetic narrative modes, noting the possibility of reading the piece as a staged death of the author. Supplemented with photographs of the exhibition.


State of Scholarship

Adrian Sudhalter wrote in 2005 in her PhD on Johannes Baader some introductory remarks on the state of scholarship. Click here to read the text.

  • State of Scholarship
  • [...] Believing that Baader was in control of his faculties and that his contribution was integral to Berlin Dada is almost a prerequisite to undertaking an examination of his work. The pioneering scholars had to concede, however, that Baader defined Dada very much according to his own rules. In an effort to understand and explain Baader's idiosyncratic contribution to Dada, two distinct methodological approaches emerged. One, pioneered by Hanne Bergius in a series of articles in the late 1970s but never developed into a full-length study, proposed, [...], that Baader's Dada work should be considered in terms of his own past, that is, his own earlier work as an architect and the intellectual currents - such as the philosophy of Max Stirner (1806-1856) and the general ethos of Lebensreform [Life Reform] - which informed him before the War. Bergius has maintained this perspective in her most recent writings, which foreground the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Timothy Benson has taken a similar approach in his exemplary work on Raoul Hausmann (Raoul Hausmann. The Dada Years. Ph.D. University of Iowa, May 1985 - 2 volumes). Recognizing that Baader was responsible for introducing Hausmann to literary and philosophical ideas in the prewar period, benson closely examined the specific texts the two men read. Benson was the first scholar of Berlin Dada to delve deeply into the complex prewar intellectual milieu which, in his view, contained the seeds of Dada
    [The most recent contribution starting from the same approach is the dissertation submitted in 2005 by Adrian V. Sudhalter, Johannes Baader and the Demise of Wilhelmine Culture: Architecture, Dada, and Social Critique, 1875-1920. Using the biographical model, chronological parameters, and retrospective orientation Sudhalter reconstructs Baader's biography until 1920, and recontextualizes the fragments found in his collages and assemblages.]
  • Stephen Foster has approached Baader from a very different perspective. Rather than looking backward into Baader's formative years, Foster looked forward, in effect, viewing Baader as a precursor to a kind of postmodern sensibility. Recognizing Baader's fascination with the media, Foster proposed that Baader viewed the world as constructed through the newspapers, and created roles for himself in accordance with this idea. For Foster, performance was the key to understanding Baader, whose Dada collages and assemblages were above all 'transactional' remnants of his overall performance as the 'Oberdada'.
  • Rainer Topitsch and Michael White, who have published more recently on Baader, have attempted to synthesize the findings and divergent approaches of their predecessors. In his master's thesis on Baader, presented at the Heinrich Heine University in 1995, Topitsch followed Foster's approach and made his own contribution through the discovery of a number of important early bibliographical sources.
    White presents a detailed reading of Baader's Great-Plasto-Dio-Dada-Drama, which, although it does not introduce new research, lucidly summarizes former findings on this work and offers some interesting new insights.
    Adrian V. Sudhalter, Johannes Baader and the Demise of Wilhelmine Culture (New York University 2005) 7-9.

banner: Double portrait of Johannes Baader and Raoul Hausmann, 1919. Photograph after lost original [Musée d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris].