Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Honor Of Joseph Beuys, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

"To make people free is the aim of art. Therefore, art for me is the science of freedom."
-Joseph Beuys

German artist Joseph Beuys's performances, sculptures and drawings, remain contemporary and relevant to me. I feel deep appreciation for his art: his felt wrappings, "discussions with dead hares," his "actions" (happenings), use of fat, use of honey, and disquieting, though noble, performance with a live coyote in an enclosed space. I saw a drawing of his at MoMA once (the link takes you to a different one, can't find the one I saw) that reminded me of the quiet radicalism and simple beauty of his work. Beuys's line is both gentle and direct. It speaks to his own shamanic presence. Here's another piece from the MoMA collection that I feel affinity towards: Eurasia Siberian Symphony 1963

Too, Joseph Beuys's radical political fervency was grand, his teaching was devoted and his life an amalgam of intriguing chosen experiences. His time spent in the military created a mythic history of being rescued by Tartars in Crimea in a plane crash and rubbed in fat, then wrapped in felt to heal. That mythology was a loving assistant for his material choices. As I remember it, later in life he became a political activist and even assisted in the founding of the Green Party.

Beuys died in 1986 at the age of 65.
All this to say, wonderful artist. 

Now in honor, watch this video!: