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The Essential Joseph Beuys Hardcover – May 30, 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), who reached cult status in his native Germany, was perhaps the most important artist to emerge in Europe after WW II; he was certainly the most influential thinker and teacher among artists of the postwar generation. His doctrine was that "every man is an artist," and his more radical aims included a restructuring of the economy and free access to all educational institutions. Beuys considered art a medium for social and political change, and the prosaic materials he employed--felt, animal fat, and wax were among his favorites--had a spiritual dimension and could be invested by the artist with healing power. His iconic "felt suit," for instance, expresses the idea of physical warmth. Arranged chronologically and spanning four decades, this is the only book that provides a definitive survey of this innovative artist's work in every medium--from drawings, sculptures, and printed works to objects, environments, and actions.

From Library Journal

German artist Beuys (1921-86) produced a huge body of work across all media in pursuit of his idea of life as a total work of art, yet he lacks broad recognition in America. This is in part because many of his most intriguing installations and performances are either lost to posterity or impossible to relocate and in part because smaller individual pieces can seem hermetic outside the context of his philosophy and life. Happily, these two works as well as a touring exhibition of the multiples (Minneapolis, Omaha, Dublin, London, and San Jose through April 2000) may finally bring him wide renown. Borer's (art, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Tours) work presents itself as catalog to an imaginary exhibition that collects 152 of the artist's most important works in all media and from the four decades he was active. Large, exquisite reproductions, with minimal captions, take up most of the pages. Borer's introductory essay energetically lays the bio-philosophical context for the works. Schellmann's catalogue raisonne of Beuys's more than 600 multiples?encompassing postcards, videos, prints, and sculptural works?was initiated with the artist's involvement in 1971. After seven various German-language incarnations, it now contains new essays and other additions from curators at the American museums that are copublishing the first English-language edition. This is simply the definitive catalogue on one of Beuys's most important bodies of work, and it belongs in all academic and larger public art collections. Borer's book is the first choice for medium-sized art collections in need of an "essential" introduction.?Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; First Edition edition (May 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262024314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262024310
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 9.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,195,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on January 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great introduction and overview of Beuys difficult and varied work. It contains many photos, which are enormously important to gain understanding of an artist whose work is frequently ephemeral and time based. There are also essays which touch on the myths surrounding Beuys, both of his own making and subsequent to his death. The relationship between this creating of a personal mythology and the materials he uses becomes evident.
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