Joseph Beuys: Another Perspective
Debate with some of the authors of the book 'On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV', decision-makers from the cultural and political world, individuals from media and an interested audience (in preparation)
The commemoration of the 100th birthday of Joseph Beuys has left room for an additional, different voice. ‘Joseph Beuys – a wonderful post-war legacy’ should be viewed beyond the mythology he created himself as an artist. These days need a new, complementary perspective on Beuys and a deeper and wider discussion in Germany and the art world that supplement the understanding of Beuys’ significance. It requires a broader and more contextual perspective than displayed in the museums in which Beuys was on show so far.
Arie Hartog, director Gerhardt-Marcks-Haus, Bremen: “[Beuys'] work satisfied the desire for expression, aesthetic choice and content. In the process, the actual esoteric contents disappeared behind (always) topical-sounding hollow phrases such as ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’, ‘capital’ and ‘revolution’.”
“Essential to the effect of Beuys' art is the sacralization of a personal eclectic pictorial world. This is less about the visual staging than the ideological embedding.”
“For the artist and his environment, there is an ‘antisemitism of omission’ that takes hold even where his visual signs might refer to Jews. The question of whether Jews are significant to his work isn’t asked. What is true of his art is that it celebrates – by consistently ignoring Jews – a (German) culture without them. Sassoon Semah's footnotes comment on this fact. No more. No less.”
ref. Arie Hartog: Sharing imagery / On Joseph Sassoon Semah's method and the work of Beuys, pag 53-57 in 'Joseph Sassoon Semah: On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV - How to Explain Hare Hunting to a Dead German Artist'