Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) – sculptor, painter, draughtsman, teacher, theorist and political activist – ranks among the most radical and influential artists to emerge during the second half of the twentieth century. An enigmatic figure whose complex imagination drew on his research across a wide range of themes – including mythology, zoology, botany and the spiritual theories of Rudolf Steiner – Beuys strove to establish a truly democratic approach towards artistic creativity, and prove that modern art need not be confined to the museum or the gallery.
This book illustrates how from Beuys's provocative 'Actions' of the 1960s and 1970s, to his ambitious environmental project 7000 Oaks – which would lead to the mass planting of trees in a series of events that continued after his death – he was never one to shun controversy. His anti-authoritarian approach gained him respect and notoriety in equal measures. As Antliff effectively demonstrates, the ecological and political issues that informed much of Beuys's art can be considered as relevant today as they were in his own lifetime.
About the Author
Allan Antliff holds the Canada Research Chair in Modern Art at the University of Victoria. He specializes in the history of modern art, contemporary art and anarchist studies. He is art editor for the UK-based journal Anarchist Studies and has published numerous art reviews and feature articles in journals such as Canadian Art Magazine, Fuse, C Magazine and Galleries West. Active in the North American anarchist movement since the 1980s, Antliff was a founding member of the Toronto Anarchist Free School (now Anarchist U).
On the Phaidon Focus series "Excellent introductions to modern masters series."-The Observer Magazine "Satisfyingly hardback yet not too hefty. Tastefully simple, encased in a plastic cover to protect them from all those crayons and paints that you're sure to whip out in a frenzy of inspiration after browsing these pages. Each contains a trove of images of artwork and educational focus chapters on themes and techniques."-It's Nice That "Concise yet spirited introduction... Plenty of colour plates make it brilliantly useful as a reference tool."-The Sunday Telegraph "Eschewing the heavyweight doorstop format of many art books, these beautiful and compact Phaidon Focus artist monographs are small and slick, and refreshingly affordable... Designed by Julia Hasting, the Zurich-based design director at Phaidon Press, who manages to create a clean, fresh look that - as art book design should - put the artists' work centre stage... Coated in a translucent grey plastic with a clear window, the book's pared back approach continues with clean, black typography on a white background. Never cluttered, but resolutely in-depth, the series manages to condense some of the 20th century's most famous artists' work into small, but by no means diminutive introductions."-DesignWeek.co.uk "Beautifully designed... The most iconic artists of the modern day... Bring you the essentials in a concise manner."-It's Nice That "Phaidon are adept at packaging up key artists and movements in contemporary art, ensuring each generation has a familiar and forward-thinking way of immersing itself in visual culture. The newest tranche of introductory monographs is Phaidon Focus. [...] The Focus series is an extended primer, a handsome hardback designed to provide an in-depth overview of an artist's life, plus a more concentrated focus on key works from the artist's career to date."-Wallpaper.com "Amazing... An essential addition to any art lover's collection."-Grazia
Series: Phaidon Focus
Number Of Pages: 144
Published: 18th February 2014
Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.5 x 17.2 x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.6
Edition Number: 1