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Joseph Beuys - Gagosian Gallery

Just hit the mark: Works from the Speck Collection
Sep 10 - Nov 15, 2003

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of major works by Joseph Beuys from the collection of Dr. Reiner Speck.

Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) is universally celebrated as one of the most important and revolutionary European artists of the last century. From early performances where he explored the role of artist as shaman, Beuys engaged his audience in unprecedented, provocative ways, calling upon art to be genuinely human medium for revolutionary change, “social sculpture” as he described it.

Embarking on a creative project that blurred the boundaries between art and life, Beuys created performance objects, installations, sculptures and drawings that challenge our traditional notions of beauty and desire. The profoundly experimental nature of his work established Beuys as a founding father of the German avant-garde; he was a renowned teacher at the Düsseldorf Academy and his influence continues to resonate with a new generation of European and American artists working today.

Dr. Reiner Speck is a prominent Cologne-based physician and collector of contemporary art and antiquarian books. After meeting Beuys in the mid 1960s, Dr. Speck began to acquire the artist’s work, and continued to expand this important collection through to the end of Beuys’ life. The Speck Collection includes seminal works from every period of the artist’s oeuvre, from sculptures and drawings from the early 1950s, to highly charged objects from Beuys’ later years.

The exhibition “Joseph Beuys, Jeder Griff muß sitzen – Just hit the mark” – which takes its title from the artist’s 1972 table drawing – will incorporate a diverse group of works from this eminent collection. Included in the show is Jungfrau, a rare, early sculpture from 1952; Vitrine Nr 21, 1968-72, an important cabinet that includes the artist’s signature hat and felt-wrapped cane; and Mensch, 1972, one of Beuys’ famed blackboard drawings; amongst other important works which are being shown for the first time in many years.

The exhibition will travel to Gagosian Gallery in New York, in January 2004.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be available; it will include an interview with Dr. Speck and Ann Temkin, Curator of Twentieth Century Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Dieter Koepplin Emeritus Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Kunstmuseum Basel and Pamela Kort, an independent curator specialising in German art.


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