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Joseph Beuys

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Joseph Beuys (May 12 1921, Krefeld, Germany - January 23 1986, Dusseldorf) was a German sculptor and performance artist. He was one of the most avant-garde artists of his time. He was involved with the Fluxus movement.


Beuys was born in Krefeld, Germany, in 1921 and was educated in Rindern. He served in the German air force during World War II, and in 1943 his aeroplane crashed in a very cold area of the Crimea. He was found by some natives who wrapped him in fat and felt, two materials which he used recurringly through his work. Starting in 1947, he studied art in Dusseldorf. He stopped in 1951. A decade later he became professor of sculpture at the Staatliche Kunstakademie. Apart from his art he was also involved to an extent in German post-war politics. In the mid-1960s he joined the group known as Fluxus. He died in 1986 in Dusseldorf.


One of his best known works, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, took place in 1965. In it he covered his head with honey and gold leaf, wore a pair of shoes, one soled with iron and one with felt, and wandered and art gallery for around two hours, explaining the art displayed to the carcass of a hare that he held, occasionally returning to a dead tree.[1][2]


  1. Art History for Dummies
  2. Encyclopaedia Britannica