Putting Her in History

Last night at Shoreditch House we explored the life and art of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. This anarchic avant garde proto-punk performance artist ran amok in New York in the early 1900’s and was well known in the art and literary scene as a living embodiment of Dada. Largely forgotten by that world after her death in 1927 and written out of art history, research in the eighties suggested she was involved in authoring the most influential work of art in the C20th: ‘Fountain‘ the urinal attributed to Marcel Duchamp. Discounted as a homeless crazy with a hygiene problem, it’s time to look again.

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

John Higgs gave a brilliant overview of her life and work, Kirsty Allison rocked an inspiring rendition of the Baroness’s sound art, complete with ‘Readymade‘ electric cable, and Sadie Murdoch shared her fascinating exploration of the Baroness’s art and Surrealism, in her recent exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich. Read more here.

Taking the Piss, The Secret History of Duchamp’s Fountain was the first in our series of WIA Presents… Keep checking in for news of the next instalment.

For those of you that would like to find out more from our speakers, you can buy John‘s book where he talks about the Baroness and pulls together a fascinating cultural history in: Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century. You can buy it here or here if you prefer not to use Amazon. His new book is out next month. Check here for details in due course.

Kirsty Allison publishes Cold Lips magazine and is running what’s revving up to be the night of the year on 22 April. It’s a rock ‘n roll spoken word music extravaganza with a smokin’ line up, including Dr John Cooper Clarke. Buy tickets here – they’re selling fast. Buy copies of Cold Lips here, and her hand-bound strictly limited edition poetry Unedited, here.

You can buy Sadie‘s surrealist art book here. In her work, she addresses gender issues and female protagonists in modern art, primarily paying attention to different forms of representation, for instance in photographic archive material, which she decodes and recomposes with her feminist gaze. Find out more here.




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