October 19, 2009

A Little Bit of Beuys in the Morning

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Adam and I were talking about Beuys' "I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974".

What was he talking about, in those rambling chalkboard performances (?), we asked each other. America must have been the coyote. What's up with coyotes? How much of his work was program and how much of it was poetry?

Or were they one and the same?

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(Image Source.)
The web at our fingertips, we consulted Wikipedia.
Are coyotes specific to the Americas? It turns out that there are various forms of jackals, related yet sufficiently different in terms of species.

As it turns out:

Beuys often created a score or "partitur" (as opposed to a script) in which he would plan the objects that would be used and the sequence of the performance. Beuys viewed each action as a new version of a basic theme and an attempt to make his philosophy more comprehensible. He also believed that the less literal the performances were, the easier it would be for the audience members to translate his message into their own lives.

Beuys traveled to the United States in 1974 and performed an action entitled I like America and America Likes Me at the Ren? Block Gallery in New York. The action actually began at Kennedy Airport, where friends wrapped him in felt and transported him to the gallery in an ambulance. Beuys then spent several days in a room with only a felt blanket, a flashlight, a cane that looked like a shepherd's staff, copies of the Wall Street Journal (which were delivered daily), and a live coyote. His choice of employing a coyote was perhaps an acknowledgment of an animal that holds great spiritual significance for Native Americans, or a commentary on a country that through its Western expansion had become "lost" America.


Typical, for conventional wisdom of the era.

We then drop the great artist's name into YouTube...


That was funny, funny, funny.

What was he singing about?

A translation of the song follows:

From the country, which destroys itself and us the ' way OF life' Dictated there Reagan comes and brings weapons and death and it hears peace, sees red it. He says as a president of the USA Nuclear war? - Ask there and there whether Poland, intermediary the east, Nicaragua it wants the final victory, that is nevertheless clear. But we want: Sun instead of Reagan without armament live! Whether west, whether east on rockets rust must! We want: Sun instead of Reagan without armament live! Whether west, whether east on rockets rust must! It wants to provoke the bags in the east also with atoms do not geizen but your war around brain-burned goals that does not run Reagan - we are many! Strike off with your nuclear strategists your Russenhassern, your radiation rain Humans Knitterface, the film are out nimm' the rockets also to house! Because we want: Sun instead of Reagan without armament live! Whether east, whether west Cold warriors the plague! We want: Sun instead of Reagan without armament live! Whether east, whether west Cold warriors the plague! This Reagan comes as a man of the armaments industry but the peoples OF the States don' t want it - never! and the true peace wird' s only give if all humans without weapons live. We want: Sun instead of Reagan without armament live! Whether west, whether east on rockets rust must! Sun instead of Reagan without armament live! Whether east, whether west Cold warriors the plague! We want: Sun instead of Reagan without armament live! Whether west, whether east on rockets rust must! We want: Sun instead of Reagan!

The research continues...

(Via BabelFish)

Posted by Dennis at October 19, 2009 12:27 PM

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