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Joseph Beuys
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Performance Artist
    (May 12, 1921-January 23, 1986)
    Born in Krefeld, Germany
    Performance artist, sculptor, graphic artist and installation artist
    Member of the Fluxus artists network
    Performances include 'How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare' (1965), 'Infiltration Homogen for Piano' (1966), 'Celtic+' (1971) and 'I Like America and America Likes Me' (1974)
    Organized the '7,000 Oaks' project to plant 7,000 oak trees, each accompanied by a basalt marker, in Kassel, Germany (1982-87)
    Founding member of the German Green Party (1979)
    He volunteered for the German Luftwaffe during World War II.
    He constantly blurred fact and fiction in talking about his life.
    Most famously, he claimed that after his bomber was shot down over the Crimea, he was rescued by Tartars, who slathered fat on him for his burns and wrapped him in felt to keep him warm -- inspiring his frequent use of fat and felt in his artwork.
    In reality, he was found by a German search team and recovered in a military hospital.
    He would deliver twelve hour long lectures.
    He preferred being called a shaman rather than an artist.
    He was wounded in action five times.
    As a result of the bomber crash, he ended up with a steel plate in his head and scars on his face from burns.
    He was one of the first German artists to explore the nation's uneasiness with its Nazi past.
    One of his art performances in Aachen was interrupted by a group of students, one of whom punched him in the nose (1964).
    He said, 'Everyone can be an artist' and 'Even the act of peeling a potato can be a work of art if it is a conscious act.'
    He was named one of the most influential artists of the 20th century by ARTNews.

Credit: C. Fishel


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