Joseph Beuys (German, 1921-1986) is considered one of the most important German artists of the post-World War II period. Highly provocative and always controversial, he was the leading figure among those who in the early 1960s reinvented a thriving avant-garde after the long period of Nazi repression.
Among the 16 works in the gallery is a new acquisition: a set of five vitrines, accompanied by two wall objects, constituting a mini-museum of works made between 1948 and 1982. Around 1970 Beuys decided to present small-scaled sculptures in freestanding vitrines like those found in natural history museums. The vitrines put forward the idea of sculpture as something to be studied as much as admired, much as their contents dramatically re-define parameters of beauty. The vitrine format has now become as synonymous with Beuys’s sculpture as his signature materials, fat and felt. Organized by Ann Temkin, Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art.
The Mimi and Peter Haas Gallery, fourth floor