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Joseph Beuys – Multiples

ART: The exhibition, on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery, is the most significant collection of the legendary German artist Joseph Beuys Multiples to be shown in New York.

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The Sled, 1969 I Sled of wood and metal with felt, cloth straps, flashlight, wax, and cord

This large-scale exhibition takes a look at 500 of Joseph Beuys’s multiples, spanning from the early 1960s to his death in 1986, from the collection of Reinhard Schlegel.

Each multiple encapsulates a specific moment, performance or idea in Beuys’s practice, resulting in a show that reveals all at once the sculptor, performance artist, printmaker, political activist, and teacher, who challenged the idea of traditional forms of art.  

While taking in the show, Beuys’s artistic identity gradually emerges and so does his ambition to affect social change through art.

Among the wonderful moments in this exhibition, curated and installed by Professor Dr. Eugen Blume, Head of the Hamburger Banhof in Berlin, Germany, are some of his iconic pieces such as Sled (1969), Felt Suit (1970), The Silence (1973), a 32-minute recording of him alternatively repeating “Ja” and “Ne,” and one of his last multiples, Capri Battery, that connects a natural object (the lemon) with a pinnacle of human innovation (the light bulb), signifying ecological balance between man and nature.

They are intriguing and they all reveal Beuys’s desire to push the boundaries of what can be considered art. “My attitude to art is good. My attitude to anti-art is just as good,” he once said. “We need both methods. Art encompasses art and anti-art.” 

Joseph Beuys – Multiples from the Reinhard Schlegel Collection | Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Mar 13-Apr 18. Tues-Sat 10-18:00