As a draftsman, sculptor, teacher, politician, and activist, as well as action and installation artist, Joseph Beuys (1921, Krefeld – 1986, Düsseldorf) fundamentally changed the art of the twentieth century. His influence can still be felt today in artistic and political discourses. His centennial in 2021 is an occasion to rediscover and critically question both his complex work and his international appeal.

The exhibition provides profound insight into the cosmopolitical thinking of Joseph Beuys as manifested in his actions. For here—as an acting, speaking, and moving figure—Beuys examined the central and radical idea of his expanded concept of art: “Everyone is an artist”. The goal of his universalist approach was to renew society from the ground up.

More than any other artist of his time, Joseph Beuys connected art with social processes, presenting it within a universal claim to politics, science, philosophy, and economics as a creative, transformative force.

In the exhibition, contemporary artists, along with representatives from the most diverse areas of society, enter into a multi-layered, transcultural dialogue with Beuys. From today’s perspective, they confirm, question, and expand his theses on the possibilities of a future conceived in terms of art.

An exhibition in conjunction with “beuys 2021. 100 years of joseph beuys”. A project of the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in cooperation with the Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf as main organizer. The Beuys centennial year stands under the patronage of NRW Minister-President Armin Laschet.

Positions in the exhibition:
Joseph Beuys, B-Town Warriors, Phyllida Barlow, Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian, Fatou Bensouda, Huma Bhabha, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Angela Davis, Dusadee Huntrakul, Charles Foster, Núria Güell, Donna Haraway, Raphael Hillebrand, Jenny Holzer, Michel Houellebecq, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Zoe Leonard, Goshka Macuga, Milk Tea Alliance, Lutz Mommartz, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, William PopeL., Tejal Shah, Vandana Shiva, Santi-ago Sierra, Patti Smith, Edward Snowden, Christopher D. Stone, Suzanne Lacy, The Oto-lith Group, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Greta Thunberg.

To read more about it

Curated by Eugen Blume, Isabelle Malz and Catherine Nichols

Digital opening of the exhibition 
Saturday, 27 March 2021, 5 pm