Constructivism in Buffalo

IT IS A MIND-STAGGERING proposition to imagine what would have happened had Lenin dug the Dadaists when they were practically neighbors in the Zurich of 1916. The political insurgency of the one, and the esthetic put-on of the other would have provided one of the grandest misalliances in 20th-century culture. From this vantage, of course, the idea seems preposterous: the campaign to make a new society on the ruins of the Imperial capitalist order, and the one to discredit all society as absurd, though they had a certain mutual disgust for the present, were, on the face of it, atrociously antagonistic to each other.

And yet we tend to underestimate the actual linkage between the Constructivists, Russian avant garde artists recruited to the Bolshevik revolution, and the Dadaists, whose anarchist revolution was the inversion of reason itself. An art seriously intended for consumption by the

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