Robert L. Peters

21 January 2008

Thinking of Josef Beuys…

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For some reason, I’ve been thinking about Josef Beuys a lot lately…. I was very influenced by his work and theories (deploying social sculpture to effect freedom, direct democracy, and sustainability) when I first encountered a provocative exhibit of his art at the Basel Kunstmuseum when I was in high school there in the early 1970s. Beuys was a charismatic, controversial figure who energetically championed the healing, transformative power of art and the power of universal human creativity—he was also one of 500 founding members of the Green Party in Germany (he saw the Greens as a reservoir for grassroots initiatives and a platform for social revolution). Josef passed on 22 years ago this week, but his works still pull, and his voice still persuades….

“ART=CAPITAL”

“Art that can not shape society and therefore also can not penetrate the heart questions of society, [and] in the end influence the question of capital, is no art.”

“To make people free is the aim of art, therefore art for me is the science of freedom.”

Cropped details from a portrait by Helnwein, and The Pack (Tate Modern)

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