Video Streaming Joseph Beuys: An Interview

Beuys VDB Image courtesy Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Tue, 05/11/2021 -
Fri, 05/14/2021


Celebrating Joseph Beuys 100th Birthday

1980 | 01:01:00 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | Video

In this interview, Beuys recounts his own tangled experiences as a child in interwar Germany. The contradiction between an undestroyed natural environment, full of possibility, and the deeply troubled social body at the time was an intense and formative one. He recounts that “when I was five years old, I felt that my life had to go to an end because I experienced already too much of this contradiction.” Beuys tracks his increasing ability to analyze the contradictions he felt, and the urgency during the WWII-era for renewing and re-posing questions central to the life, labor and freedom of the people.

Beuys also discusses his engagement with materials, the limits of preparation for a performance, and other issues important to his art practice. He continually addresses the urgency of an expanded understanding of art with the radical potential to transform the social body. He holds out the vital possibility of “another kind of art” where aesthetics is meaningless except as “the human being in itself.”
Beuys VDB
(c) Video Data Bank of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

A historical interview originally recorded in 1980 and re-edited in 2003 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.

Lyn Blumenthal Image courtesy Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Lyn Blumenthal has been recognized as a leading and innovative experimental feminist media artist and teacher. Her multi-disciplinary body of work included videos, sculpture, drawings and critical essays.  She forged new directions and objectives for the field of independent video— envisioning alternative video as a critical voice within the culture, capable of exposing the numerous foibles and blind spots of mainstream media. Committed to the application of feminist theory to video practice, Blumenthal’s early ’80s art tapes investigate issues of women’s identity and sexuality as a crisis of representation. Blumenthal was co-director of the Video Data Bank with Kate Horsfield from its founding in 1976 until her death in 1988.

Kate Horsfield Image courtesy Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Kate Horsfield received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976 and in the same year co-founded the Video Data Bank with the late Lyn Blumenthal. Horsfield was Executive Director of the Video Data Bank from 1988 to 2006.  Horsfield and Blumenthal began their research in contemporary art in video by producing over 200 video interviews with contemporary artists, photographers and critics, including artists such as Lee Krasner, Romare Bearden, Alice Neel, Joseph Beuys, Buckminster Fuller, and Vito Acconci. This group of interviews has become one of the largest and most valuable primary collections of resource material on contemporary artists in the country.  From 1980 to 1999, she taught courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Texas, Austin.  After her retirement from Video Data Bank in 2006, Horsfield has split her time between New York, NY and Austin, TX.