With his room-filling temporary constructions, Beuys also pioneered the movement that led to installation art. In his installations and other sculptural work Beuys included such elements as food, dead animals, wire, wood, cloth, automobiles, musical instruments, scraps of various materials, and many other likely and unlikely objects. In these unconventional, often obsessional, and sometimes disturbing pieces and in his many drawings and posters, Beuys rejected abstract art in favor of an aesthetic that relied heavily on his own experience and that elevated subject matter to utmost importance. Thematically, he was apt to touch on such issues as the environment, politics, and humanity's relationship with nature. Famous in the international art world by the 1970s, Beuys had an important impact on an emerging group of avant-garde artists, first in Europe and later in the United States.
See J. F. Moffitt, Occultism in Avant-Garde Art: The Case of Joseph Beuys (1988) H. Stackelhaus, Joseph Beuys (1991) A. Temkin and B. Rose, Thinking Is Form: The Drawings of Joseph Beuys (1992).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art, 1600 to the Present: Biographies
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