Joseph Beuys “Everyone is an artist”

Joseph Beuys (German pronunciation: [ˈjoːzɛf ˈbɔʏs]; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German Fluxus, happening and performance artist as well as a 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.

Joseph Beuys was a German Fluxus, happening and performance artist (creator of action-performance) as well as a 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 interest in Rudolf Steiner, Christianity, mythology, botany and zoology led him to evolve a rich and complex symbolism, including archetypal animal images of hares, sheep, swans, bees, etc. Participated in the Fluxus movement from 1962 and started in 1963 to give action-performances using such elements as dead hares, fat and felt. Conflicts with authority over his teaching methods culminated in 1972 in his dismissal from the Düsseldorf Academy by the Minister of Science, followed by a strike of his students and widespread protests. Here is a Q&A with him. One of Joseph Beuys’ fundamental messages, delivered again and again in lectures, interviews, and artworks, was that human beings can and must learn to be creative in many different ways. His famous slogan “Everyone is an artist” was not meant to suggest that all people should or could be creators of traditional artworks. Rather, he meant that we should not see creativity as the special realm of artists, but that everyone should apply creative thinking in their own area of specialization–whether it be law, agriculture, physics, education, homemaking, or the fine arts. Read more about it here.

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