Films by or about Joseph Beuys

Posted filed underGermany, Videos.

“Joseph Beuys (May 12, 1921 – January 23, 1986) was a German performance artist, sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.

His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy; it culminates in his “extended definition of art” and the idea of social sculpture as a gesamtkunstwerk, for which he claimed a creative, participatory role in shaping society and politics. His career was characterized by passionate, even acrimonious public debate, but he is now regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.”

Filz TV (1970)

I Like America And America Likes Me (1974)

“Art historian Uwe Schneede considers this performance pivotal for the reception of German avantgarde art in the U.S.A., it paved the way for the recognition of Beuys’ own work, but also that of contemporaries such as Lüpertz, Baselitz, Kiefer and many others in the 1980s. In May 1974 Beuys flew to New York and was taken by ambulance to the site of the performance, a room in the René Block Gallery on East Broadway. Beuys lay on the ambulance stretcher swathed in felt. He shared this room with a wild coyote, for eight hours over three days. At times he stood, wrapped in a thick, grey blanket of felt, leaning on a large shepherd’s staff. At times he lay on the straw, at times he watched the coyote as the coyote watched him and cautiously circled the man, or shredded the blanket to pieces, and at times he engaged in symbolic gestures, such as striking a large triangle or tossing his leather gloves to the animal; the performance continuously shifted between elements that were required by the realities of the situation, and elements that had purely symbolic character. At the end of the three days, Beuys hugged the coyote that had grown quite tolerant of him, and was taken to the airport. Again he rode in a veiled ambulance, leaving America without having set foot on its ground. As Beuys later explained: ‘I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote.”

Joseph Beuys – Transformer

In TRANSFORMER (60 min.) one of the greatest legends of contemporary art, avant-garde German artist Joseph Beuys, speaks in great depth for the first and last time, about his unique sculpture and actions. Filmed on location at his spectacular 1979 New York Guggenheim Museum exhibition, Beuys leads the viewer through a private tour of his personal life and its relationship to his controversial works, aesthetic and political theories and actions. We experience how his life changed when the Russians shot down his German fighter plane during World War II and hear his philosophy and candid opinions about mankind, ecology and the state of the world. In the documentary, Beuys takes film director John Halpern on a journey through his artworks, as he personally installs and narrates the most complete and intricate assembly of his work to date before the camera. Beuys’ unique statements and intimate thoughts about his life and work form a highly unusual, compelling and dynamic portrait.

Joseph Beuys / TRANSFORMER
Director/Producer: John Halpern
Original Score: Michael Galasso
Video Design Concept: Les Levine

Joseph Beuys – Sonne statt Reagan (1982)

A disco attack against President Reagan’s stance on nuclear arms. The song’s title, “Sun Not Rain/Reagan”, was a pun on the German word “regen” for rain and Reagan.

Joseph Beuys Japanese Whiskey Ad

Translation: “All artists are drunken fools- if you’re going to be one do it with class”.

Joseph Beuys Plight 1986 : State of the Art – Episode 3

Filmed in Europe, the United States and Australia in 1985-6, the six programmes feature many key artists including — in addition to Joseph Beuys — Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Antony Gormley, Hans Haacke, Eric Fischl and Cindy Sherman. The films also explore the intellectual context of the time and the ideas of post-modernism.

The series was originally seen on Channel 4 in Britain, and then shown in more than 20 countries.

Joseph Beuys – A short documentary