Hal Foster’s lecture How to Survive Civilization, or What I Have Learned from Dada placed Hugo Ball on one side of a continuum with Marcel Duchamp in the middle and Francis Picabia on the other side, most interesting of all was the mention of performance artist and poet, muse of the dadaists, Emmy Hennings. “It was in Munich, at the Café Stefanie, Where I recited for you, Emmy, poems That I dared tell only you,”

To you it’s as if I was already
Marked and waiting on Death’s list.
It keeps me safe from many sins.
How slowly life drains out of me.
My steps are often steeped in gloom,
My heart beats in a sickly way
And it gets weaker every day.
A death angel stands in the middle of my room.
Yet I dance till I’m out of breath.
Soon lying in the grave I’ll be
And no one will snuggle up to me.
Oh, give me kisses up till death.

…when it comes to sex and nudity, the Rhineland’s apparent openness embarrasses Americans, whose nation’s tolerance for violence borders on the unnatural, but whose interest in sex is, despite all, fundamentally closeted. Consider, pro-sex entrepreneur Beate Uhse-Rotermund, who was once a stunt pilot and after WWII distributed a pamphlet called “Schrift X” describing the Knaus-Ogino rhythm method of contraception in 1946, opened Germany’s first sex shop in 1962 that subsequently became an international chain, a sex museum in 1996, and when she died at age 81 her name was known by a reported 98% of Germans.


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