Joseph Beuys is one of the most legendary figures of twentieth century art; his work and ideas continue to impact on artists today. An enigmatic, self-styled 'shaman' who embraced radically democratic artistic and political ideas, he has attained almost mythical status. This reader brings together the crucial texts on Beuys to look at the most contentious reception ever accorded a postwar artist.Here in one volume, are key essays by prominent artists and critics from North America and Europe, in a collection which foregrounds the full scope of Beuys' work across performance, drawing, painting, sculpture and multiples. With a foreword by Arthur C Danto, "Joseph Beuys: The Reader" features Benjamin Buchloh's seminal essay 'Beuys: The Twilight of the Idol' and texts by Rosalind Krauss, Peter Burger, Vera Frenkel, Irit Rogoff, Thierry de Duve and others, as well as essays translated for the first time into English. Also included are two discussions, previously unpublished outside of Germany, with Beuys himself, as well as a useful chronology of key events and exhibitions in the life of this most charismatic figure.
The most significant collection of texts on this artist to date, the book will be essential reading for any student of Beuys and for all those interested in postwar art, the cult of the artist, and art's engagement with politics and society.
Claudia Mesch is Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Arizona State University. Viola Michely is a writer and curator. She teaches art and philosophy at the August-Macke School, Bonn.
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