Joseph Beuys, painter, author, sculptor, teacher, performance artist, political activist, lecturer and most of all ground shattering human was born yesterday in 1921. Widely recognized posthumously as one of the most influential artists of the last half of the 20th century his impact is felt far and wide today. Working between mediums and subjects, I most closely associate him with his felt works which you find in the collections of many major museums around the world. They are awe inspiring in their simplicity. His life was as interesting as his works are, both are worth investigating further. I have two fat art books at home that need some more attention, when I finally land back in LA.
I first came to know of Beuys during an extended visit to Munich, Germany in 2004 where I was piggybacking onto a very good friends commercial production. Fortunately it meant that I was working LA hours in Germany and had my days open for exploring. I speak no German (everyone sounded like Snoopy to me) resulting in the things I saw having a particularly profound effect on me. The Pinakothek Der Moderne is a glorious museum which I highly recommend it if you find yourself in Munich. Museum gift shops and their hidden treasures are one of my favorite shopping spots no matter the city or country. The shop at the Pinakothek had two chunky postcards in editions from Beuys world. I snagged a felt one for 10 euros at the time, wanting the entire stacks of both, but not having the suitcase space. Below there are links to Gagosian's shopping site where you can procure either...for a bit more than they were a decade ago, but for millions less than a felt suit. I framed mine and it hangs proudly in my house reminding me of this great artist each time I pass it