Beuys: Art as a Weapon
M/A/D | Music/Art/Design
The rallying cries of the late, great Joseph Beuys ran along the lines of:
"To regain art’s original shamanistic, healing power and social centrality."
"To increase awareness of art as essential creative thought and action."
"To catalyze the transformative potential of human beings through democratizing—and openly discussing—art itself."
"Everyone an artist!"
The scarred shaman with the fierce twinkle in his eye was more than an artist. He was a very savvy cultural politician, as Andres Veiel’s Beuys: Art as a Weapon reminds us. Despite the now oversimplified mythology around Beuys, the mysteries—and his huge influence—remain, like the materialities of wood, metal, wax and felt. Appreciating Beuys’s art really does require witnessing its enactment. This film (virtually) enables that, and his performances, drawings and very visage have unexpected power on the big screen.
"When he was active, Joseph Beuys (1921-86) was the art star of post-war Germany. [He] claimed to have survived a plane crash in Crimea while serving in the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, largely thanks to a band of wandering Tartars. With that story as a creation myth, Beuys added a hat and vest as props, and leapt into a void at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, where he became a professor… The most extensive revisiting of Beuys’s art and life for a general public, [Beuys: Art as a Weapon] draws from the huge visual archive—in Germany, Beuys was as well documented as Warhol in America—and it introduces (or reintroduces) Beuys to an audience that is more in tune with the celebrity-artists who came later."—David D’Arcy, Art Newspaper