Monday, August 16, 2010
Precursor of Lady Gaga?
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhaven (1874-1927) was an obscure Dada poet-artist who finally emerged into the mainstream after 80 years. She had her first gallery exhibition at Francis M. Naumann in 2003, with five of her remaining eight existing works on view. A biography by Irene Gammel was published, examining the baroness's iconoclastic writings and filling us in on all the salacious details of her wild and remarkable life.
She single-handedly presented futuristic fashion to the bohemians of Greenwich Village, scandalizing her neighbors by parading semi-nude along 14th Street, barely covered with feathers....Courageous to an insane degree, Elsa was able to provoke and challenge everyone. She recited her poetry on the street, to passers-by, wearing nothing but tea-balls on her breasts. She was feared and admired in verse by the likes of Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens and Djuna Barnes. Elsa's death by gas in 1927 at her home in Paris left her friends wondering if it was an accident or suicide.