New York

Joseph Beuys

René Block Galllery / Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Communication occurs in reciprocity: it must never be a one-way flow from teacher to taught. So oscillates . . . the master/pupil, transmitter/receiver relationship. So states Joseph Beuys in the catalog for “Art into Society” (ICA, London, 1974). And for three days last April Beuys talked to New York gallery-goers, uptown and downtown—this “oscillating” sculpture of verbal interchange acting as the live counterpart of his fixed object-environments, which remained after his departure. The day I sat listening to, occasionally joining in, discussion, the focal point was Beuys’s political ideas and, in particular, his advocacy of a “social sculpture/architecture,” the molding/building of society to shape a “free democratic socialism.”

The urgent sincerity of the man is compelling, even mesmerizing. And maybe it’s gratifying, no, more invigorating, like breathing fresh air, to hear ot an art

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.