The 5 Most Important Works of Art by Joseph Beuys

    Joseph Beuys and his works have deeply marked the main lines of post-war visual art. As an artist, he positioned himself at the opposite extreme of his friend and colleague Andy Warhol. He was an artist whose biographical facts greatly influenced his work: part of the Hitler Youth, he survived a bomb accident, saved by a group of Tatar nomads who healed him with ancient traditional medicine. Although a legend, this experience is claimed to be a defining factor in his creative career, which would be characterized by a continuous search for harmony between nature, ecology, peace and art, so much so that critics gave him the nickname art shaman. moving between sculptureon paint Y the performancehis works, present in the most important art museums in the world, represent an unconventional energy of contemporary art, reflecting a nomadic spirit in search of anthropological-spiritual heritage.

    What is art for Joseph Beuys? A a constant process of environmental, economic, historical and political connections, which would form the concept of social sculpture used to describe his work. It is no accident that there is a strong symbolic component in the work of Joseph Beuys, as can be seen from the choice of materials for his works, which is never accidental.

    2021 was a year of renewed interest in the figure of Joseph Beuys , on the occasion of the centenary of his birth. Let’s see what they are The 5 jobs you need to know to delve into the poetics of Joseph Beuys.

    Felt Suit (1970)

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    felt suit It is Joseph Beuys’ most iconic work, made in 100 copies, one of which is at the Tate in London, although it has been mothballed. The work looks like a suit, but it is not a wearable suit, as it is made of felt, an item considered lifesaving by the artist (it was used as medicine to save him after the plane crash). His anonymous character in uniform just like many others creates a contrast between the element that composes it Y your visual appearance recalling dramatic elements such as concentration camps.

    How to Explain the Art of a Dead Rabbit (1965)

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    Joseph Beuys also worked extensively in the performing arts, especially during the period he was associated with the group streaman international network of artists that in the 1960s mixed various disciplines, including performative practice. How to explain dead rabbit art is one of his most famous performances, which took place in Shmela gallery from Dusseldorf: Beuys, alone in the empty gallery (and the audience outside), with his face smeared with oil, holding a dead rabbit to which he explains the pictures hanging on the walls. The performance is an invitation to enjoy art in a more instinctive way, detached from the main social contexts in which art is usually enjoyed.

    Fat Chair (1964)

    The artistic activity of Joseph Beuys it was never entirely due to biased situations or consolidated currents. Several times critics have tried to insert it first into minimalism, then into arte povera or conceptual art. An example of this is work a fat chairwhich talks about the saving of human life thanks to the natural element, in which the technical construction of man is fused with an organic element.

    I Like America and America Likes Me (1974)

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    Always in the field of performances, I like America and America likes me is one of the most successful performances by Joseph Beuys, which took place at the René Block Gallery in New York. The act consisted in an attempt build a relationship of trust with a coyote caged with him for several days. The symbolic meaning of this performance can be read as a an attempt to reconcile man with natureas a metaphor for the American population trying to reconnect with its past, symbolized by the coyote, a captive animal present on American soil.

    7000 Oaks (1982)

    The greatest and most iconic work of Joseph Beuys dates from 1982 on the occasion of the famous event documents 7 in Kassel. In front of the Fridericianum museum, the artist piled up a series of basalt stoneseach of which was linked to the fate of an oak tree: anyone who lifted one of these stones would fund planting a tree in the city. Thus, as the stones in front of the museum become less and less, an oak grows on the territory of the city or in a neighboring area. Long lasting performance perfectly illustrative Joseph Beuys’ idea of ​​artin which nature, art and collective participation become one, with the goal of artistic practice becoming a collective gesture.

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