Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986, Germany) is regarded as one of the most influential cultural figures of the twentieth century. A leading proponent of the Fluxus movement, Beuys expanded his practice by placing philosophy, politics and sociology at the very core of his “anthropological art”. During his life, Beuys strived to achieve artistic, political and social change by sharing his radical ideas through lectures, speeches, and symposia. His voice and writing gave shape to the energy of his thoughts, making him the last descendant of a philosophical tradition that goes from Socrates and Plato to Rudolf Steiner, who was the founder of anthroposophy and a fundamental figure of reference for the artist throughout his career.

We previously presented a series of works from Difesa Della Natura, which was a social, political and ecological campaign undertaken by Beuys and his patron Lucrezia della Domizio Durini in the 1980s. Assisted by his students at the Free International University (F.I.U.), the group performed a series of acts using a car, pamphlets, blackboards and spades to encourage and promote widespread creativity in the Italian countryside. Click here to see our Joseph Beuys: Gespräch exhibition at Artvisor, London.

Selected Exhibitions

Tate Modern, London (2005); Royal Academy of Arts, London; MoMA, New York (2008); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1979); Documenta III, Kassel (1964); Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2001); Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt (1972); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1980); Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh (1980); Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo (1984); and the Venice Biennale (1980).

Selected Collections

MoMA, New York; Tate Modern, London; Harvard University, Cambridge; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Scotland; Landesmuseum Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany; Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach; and Museum for Contemporary Art, Basel.

Interested in Joseph Beuys’ work?