Born: May 12, 1921 Krefeld, Germany Died: January 23, 1986
Beuys was a German performance artist, sculpture, painter, graphic artist and printmaker. His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism and social philosophy. His career was characterized by passionate public debate, but he is now regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His life and work always controversial and full of intrigue. During WWII, Beuys volunteered for the Luftwaffe. After joining, in May 8, 1945, Beuys was taken prisoner in Cuxhaven and brought to a British internment Camp. He was released August 5 of that year. He returned to his parents who had moved to a suburb of Kleve. It was at this time the Beuys began his serious career as an artist depicting his socially provoked performance pieces like "How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare"1965 an "I Like America and America Likes Me" 1974.
A major retrospective of Beuys work opened at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1979. The exhibition has been described as a "lightning rod for American criticism," eliciting as it did some powerful and polemical responses.
Selected Collections: Art Institute of Chicago Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain Guggenheim Museum, New York City Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Museum of Modern Art, New York City Art gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Australia
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