In part 5 of my examination of Performance Art I am going to be considering the monumental contribution of Joseph Beuys the German Performance artist , Daniel Buren and James Lee Boyars.
Beuys was a great believer in art for everyone and advocated a very specific critique of modern global Capitalism.
” The German artist Joseph Beuys believed that Art should effectively transform peoples everyday lives”. .
” He resorted to dramatic actions and Lectures in an attempt to change consciousness . we have to Revolutionise human thought he said”. .
Many of Beuys’s performances were stark , controversial and sometimes critical of the aesthetics of the time.
” Beuys’s actions often resembled passion plays with their stark symbolism and complex and systematic iconography – objects and materials- Felt, butter -dead Hares , sleighs , shovels all became metaphorical protagonists in his performance”. .
” At the Galerie Schelma in Dussledorf on 26th November 1965 Beuys, his head covered in honey and gold leaf took a dead hare in his arms and quietly carried it around the Exhibition of his drawings and Paintings”. .
Rose Lee Goldberg identifies aspects of Beuys’s teaching methods in Dussledorf.
” Yet meetings with Fluxus had confirmed Beuys’s own teaching methods at the Dussledorf academy where he had became Professor of sculpture in 1961 at the age of 40″. .
” He organised at the academy a Fluxus festival with many American Fluxus’s artists participating. Beuys polemical art and anti-art attitude soon began to disturb the authorities and was finally in 1972 dismissed amidst a violent Student protest”. .
Beuys was always controversial and challenging in his Performance art. In my opinion a Revolutionary who changed and revolutionised Performance Art in the 60’s and the 70’s.
” Eurasia (1966) was Beuys’s attempt to examine the political, spiritual and social polarities that characterised existence. Its central motif was the division of people. The cross which for Beuys symbolised the division of people since Roman Times”. .
” Coyote was an American action in Beuys’s terms the Coyote complex reflecting the American Indians History of persecution as much as the whole relationship between the USA and Europe”. .
Joseph Beuys in Discussion with other artists in 1985 established his own Anti-capitalist rhetoric.
“At the same time the way our lives are an important and elementary expression of one’s artistic sense”. .
” Talking about Tribal Cultures he said it would be better if these people develop themselves but of course they are subjugated to Capitalism”. .
Beuys continues the discussion with his comment on the role of the Basques and other self autonomous peoples.
” In Spain I proposed that the Basques should be given full autonomy but then I said that they did indeed have their own culture”. .
” Capitalism is happy to have terrorism its artificially bred by Capitalism, regarding the broadened concept of Art I’m searching for the dumbest person and when I’ve found the dumbest person then I have surely found the most intelligent one, the one potentially endowed”. .
Goldberg considers the role of the art Object.
” The Art object came to be considered entirely superfluous within this aesthetic and the notion of conceptual art was formulated as an art of which the materials is concepts”. .
” Performance in the last two years of the 60’s and the early 70’s reflected conceptual art’s reflection of traditional materials of canvass , brush or chisel with performers turning to their own bodies, as art material”. .
Poses by performers were acted out with or without costumes as I will explore in Part 6.
” Some artists dissatisfied with the somewhat materialist exploration of the Body, assumed poses and wore costumes in performance”. .
” Above all audiences were provoked into asking just what were the boundaries of Art”. .
To conclude I will now consider the contributions of Daniel Buren and James Lee Byars, both Performance Conceptual artists who instead of using the body directly challenged the use of the Art Object and used the spatial surroundings to display their Art.
” Some Artists saw performance as a means to explore the inter-relationship between Museum and Gallery Architecture. the French Artist Daniel Buren began to paste stripes on a curved ceiling to emphasize the Architecture of the building rather than submit to its overwhelming presence”. .
” The American artist James Lee Byars attempted to change the perception of Viewers by confronting them individually in a question and answer exchange”. .
This concludes my 5th part of examination into Performance art mainly concentrating on the towering influence of Joseph Beuys.
- PERFORMANCE ART FROM FUTURISM TO THE PRESENT: ROSE LEE GOLDBERG.PG.149
- ART IN THEORY 1900-2000: JOSEPHY BEUYS ( 1921-1986) JANNIS KOUNELLIS , ANSELM KIEFER ENZO CUCCHI FROM THE CULTURAL HISTORICAL TRAGEDY OF THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT: PG.1144
- PERFORMANCE ART FROM FUTURISM TO THE PRESENT: ROSE LEE GOLDBERG.PG.152