Considering Joseph Beuys

Conference Mon 3 Apr 1995 - Sat 8 Apr 1995 Some screenings are held at Goethe House New York, 1074 Fifth Avenue, and at Thread Waxing Space, 476 Broadway.
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It has been twenty-one years since Joseph Beuys' Public Dialogue, his first speaking engagement in America, that took place on the stage of the New School auditorium. It has also been nine years since his death and sixteen years since his highly influential solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. The time is ripe to reassess the life and work of this controversial figure and the New School is particularly appropriate setting in which to do so.

A diverse group of experts from both sides of the Atlantic will convene to publicly discuss issues relevant to Joseph Beuys' art and life. Engaging in this rich exchange are scholars, curators, artists, Beuys' collaborators, friends, and detractors. Experts in various disciplines of the humanities and social sciences from the New School's distinguished World Policy Institute and Graduate Faculty will also join the discussion and provide a perspective from outside the art world. The panel discussions and lectures are completed by an extensive program of videotapes and films by and about Beuys, many of which have never been seen in America.

Topics for Discussion

Each panel and lecture is introduced by a short clip from a videotape in which Beuys appears and is relevant to the issues being discussed.

Social Sculpture: Beuys' political activities, including the foundation of the Free International University, his part in the formation of the Green Party and his ecological work, the establishment of the Organization for Direct Democracy by Referendum, and the German Student Party will be explored.

Intellectual Roots: The influence of science, language, literature and philosophy on Beuys' life and work, particularly the Northern Romantic movement, the Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner, and Germanic mythology are discussed.

Impact Inside and Outside of Germany: The American reaction to Beuys' work, teaching and political activity was quite different from that of Europeans. With an emphasis on Germany, America and Italy, the how and why of those reactions are exposed.

Fluxus: Beuys' work changed dramatically around the time of his contact with this international movement. He never became an official member but he did participate in Fluxus events. How much and in what ways Beuys was influenced by the group will be discussed.

Feminism: When Beuys first visited New York in 1974 he particularly asked to meet feminist artists. A number of women in the arts were contracted and a breakfast meeting with Beuys was organized. Some of those who attended that event will discuss the experience and their thoughts about this years later.

Actions and Environments: Particular performance works and installations will be discussed such as I Like America and America Likes Me; Titus Iphigenie; Eurasienstab; and the Palazzo Regale, Beuys' last project.

Primitivism: Early in his career Buys took on the character of shaman and healer. How he was received then and what they perceive his influence to be on contemporary art today.

Artists Speak: Students of Beuys will join American artists to talk about the impact he has had on their work and what they perceive his influence to be on contemporary art today.

Sound and Sculpture: A comparison of the work of Beuys with that of John Cage and their common roots in Duchamp, Satie and Joyce.

Beuys and Warhol: Warhol designed his campaign poster when Beuys ran as a candidate of the Green Party. These two controversial art legends were mutual admirers and their careers took parallel courses. Their similarities and differences are discussed.

Terry Atkinson, Reader in the Rhetoric and Practices of Fine Art, University of Leeds, England.
Rene Block, Beuys' first exhibition in America in 1974 was at the Rene Block Gallery, New York. Block is currently Director of the Exhibitions for the Institute of Foreign Cultural Relations.
Germano Celant, Curator of Contemporary Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Trevor Fairbrother, Beal Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Ronald Feldman, Director of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. Feldman persuaded Beuys to travel to this country and organized his American tour, including the Public Dialogue at The New School.
Dorothea Franck, Professor, University of Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatory, Denttaag.
Kathy Goncharov
Dick Higgins, Fluxus artist, New York.
Jan Hoet, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, and curator of Documenta IX in Kassel, Germany.
Mario Kramer, Curator, Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt.
Donald Kuspit, Professor of Art History and Philosophy, SUNY, Stony Brook, and A.D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University.
Cornelia Lauf, Editor, "Imschoot, Uitgevers" publishers, Ghent, and freelance curator. Instructor at The New School, "Joseph Beuys. Career and Catalogues," spring 1995.
Kim Levin, Regular contributor to the Village Voice, and free-lance curator.
Dirk Lukow, Freelance critic, Cologne. European Correspondent, "Art&Text," Guest Editor of the "Journal of Contemporary Art" and co-founder of "...the living museum"
Friedhelm Mennekes, Director, Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, Cologne.
Berenice Rose, Curator of the exhibition Thinking is Form: The Drawings of Joseph Beuys at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Robert Storr, Curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Armin Zweite, Director, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf

Schedule of Events

Monday, April 3
6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Video and film by and about Joseph Beuys

Tuesday, April 4
6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Video and film by and about Joseph Beuys

Wednesday, April 5
6:00 p.m. Keynote Address
7:15 p.m. Panel Discussion 1
8:30 p.m. Panel Discussion 2

Thursday, April 6
1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Lectures
6:30 p.m. Panel Discussion 1
8:30 p.m. Panel Discussion 2

Friday, April 7
1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Lectures
6:00 p.m. Panel Discussion 1
8:00 p.m. Panel Discussion 2

Saturday, April 8
11:00 - 6:00 p.m. Video and film by and about Joseph Beuys