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Joseph Beuys Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Joseph Beuys (1921-1986)
Joseph Beuys was in Krefeld but grew up mainly in two nearby towns, Kleve and Rindern. Beuys became associated with the Fluxus movement, eventually becoming its most significant and famous member. He moved from drawing toward performance art motivated by his belief that art has a larger role to play in society. In 1979 Beuys became a founding member of the German Green Party.
Felt Suit
Defense of Nature,
Animal Woman
Encounter with Beuys


F.I.U.: The Defense of Nature, 1983–85.

Automobile, shovels, copper pieces, pamphlets, and slate blackboard, dimensions vary with installation. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. 85.3315.a-.e. Joseph Beuys

By 1962 Beuys had ceased creating objects, turning his attention to Performance [more] art and sculptural experiments with nontraditional materials. F. I. U.: The Defense of Nature exemplifies the way his life came to merge with his art. The work refers to an ecological campaign that Beuys and his dealer, Lucrezia de Domizio, waged in the 1980s with the help of his students at the art academy he had founded to encourage creativity—the Free International University (hence the F. I. U. of the title). The campaign required the use of a car, pamphlets, copper tubing, and spades that were meant to be plunged vigorously into the Italian countryside. Beuys sold the car, its contents, and two blackboards as part of his routine transformation of performance materials into artworks that would in turn fund other projects.
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