Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mad about the Beuys

I don't know what it is about 20th century German artist Joseph Beuys, but he continues to fascinate me.  Maybe it's that he preferred to create his pieces from such basic materials such as felt, fur, fat, iron, honey and gold -- substances which to him held iconic and almost magical powers. 

His choice of found materials seems especially relevant today.  Maybe that's why I hauled in my beloved WWII-era iron horseshoe bench from the garden the other night and draped it with a goat fur cushion.  By itself, it was just a cool iron bench.  But with the fur, it feels both elemental and subversive, two qualities I can't recommend highly enough.  To Beuys, iron symbolized strength and the link between the bloodstream and the earth. Fur, on the other hand, was soft, feminine and protective.  
I think it will add a certain seditious element to my next dinner party.  At least I hope so.

(Top photo credit:  Ronald Feldman Fine Arts)

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