Books on Beuys' 100th birthday
12 May 2021 would have been the 100th birthday of the action artist Joseph Beuys, who died in 1986. This year several books about the charismatic man will be published to mark the occasion.
By Holger Moos
With his theory of social sculpture, Beuys wanted to overcome the boundaries between art and society. His goal was to expand the definition of art. Everyone is capable of shaping the world socially and creatively. This led to his most quoted words: “Everyone is an artist.” The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen is holding an exhibition by that name in which contemporary artists and representatives from the most diverse areas of society enter into a 12-chapter, “multi-layered, transcultural dialogue with Beuys.” The accompanying catalogue, Jeder Mensch ist ein Künstler. Kosmopolitische Übungen mit Joseph Beuys was published by Hatje Cantz (available as Everyone is an artist. Cosmopolitical Exercises with Joseph Beuys in English).
Some aspects provoke contradictionIn Joseph Beuys. Kunst, Kapital, Revolution (Joseph Beuys. Art, Capital, Revolution), Philip Ursprung presents 24 central Beuys locations. His aim is to create a new understanding of decisive actions and projects such as in I Like America and America Likes Me, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare or 7000 Oaks. Ursprung wants to release the works’ fixations on the artist’s biography in order to move his art “into the broader context of twentieth century history.” According to kunstbuchanzeiger.de, the book is a “precisely argued, knowledgeable and engaged portrayal.” The NZZ, by contrast, recommends it only with reservations, “not least because some aspects provoke contradiction.”
Beuys also made extensive use of the poster medium to disseminate his art and ideas. Joseph Beuys: Plakate. Posters contains the artist’s posters, offering a unique overview of his works, actions and exhibitions as well as his political and social engagement.
Language as a plastic material
The exhibition catalogue Von der Sprache aus (available as Starting from Language in English) has been announced for June 2021. The exhibition of the same name at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, is scheduled to open on 13 June 2021. In 1985, Joseph Beuys said that he that developed his work “starting from language.” He understood language – on a par with visual means of art – as a plastic material that empowers every human being to participate in society. Beuys’ engagement with language ranges from silence to hours-long discussions. Accordingly, the chapters are divided into the themes of silence, sounds, concepts, writing, mystery, legend and speaking. The exhibition and catalogue present sculptures, drawings, installations, films, posters and documents from the collections of the Nationalgalerie, the Sammlung Marx, the Kupferstichkabinett and the Kunstbibliothek of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Aus der Zeit gerissen. Joseph Beuys: Aktionen. Photographiert von Ute Klophaus 1965-1986. München: Schirmer/Mosel, 2021. 144 p.
beuys 2021. 100 jahre joseph beuys
Göttingen: Steidl, 2021. 384 p.
ISBN: 978-3-95829-956-6 (expected to be published on 28 May 2021)
Joseph Beuys: Hiermit trete ich aus der Kunst aus. Gespräche und Vorträge
Hamburg: Edition Nautilus GmbH, 2021. 160 p.
Joseph Beuys-Handbuch. Leben – Werk – Wirkung
Heidelberg: J.B. Metzler, 2021. ca. 400 p.
ISBN: 978-3-476-05791-4 (expected to be published on 1 August 2021)
Jeder Mensch ist ein Künstler. Kosmopolitische Übungen mit Joseph Beuys
Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2021. 368 p.
ISBN of the English edition: 978-3-7757-4866-7
Claus von der Osten / Rene S. Spiegelberger: Joseph Beuys – Plakate – Posters (deutsch/englisch)
München: Prestel, 2021. 256 p.
Philip Ursprung: Joseph Beuys. Kunst, Kapital, Revolution
München: C.H. Beck, 2021. 336 p.
You can find this title in our eLibrary Onleihe.
Von der Sprache aus. Joseph Beuys zum 100. Geburtstag
Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2021. 192 p.
ISBN: 978-3-7757-5037-0 (expected to be published in June 2021)
ISBN of the English edition: 978-3-7757-5038-7