The Easel

22nd May 2018

Joseph Beuys review – a show steeped in fat, felt and fiction

It’s not a criticism to call Beuys’s art elliptical. One critic suggests it looks “more found then formed, as if dug up somewhere”. Beuys wanted to revive German art after the horrors of Nazism. He succeeded, inspiring a new generation of artists. “Yet he was also a bullshitter, a fake prophet” who propagated myths about himself and his art. An excellent video (5 min) is here.

German Art Without Jews

It is hard to look at 1930’s German art without searching for hints of the disaster to come. Yet there is little sign of prophesy in these works. The prevailing style – “New Objectivity – was rooted in the politics of the day, if not the ghosts of WWI. One commented later that catastrophe was not suddenly visible; it revealed itself slowly through the details of ordinary life.