The Hamburger Bahnhof is presenting its extensive holdings of works by the artist Joseph Beuys (1921–86) in the Kleihueshalle.


Comprising 15 key works by Joseph Beuys, the new presentation in the Kleihueshalle explores the artist’s complex oeuvre and critical reception. Alongside his environment DAS KAPITAL RAUM 1970–1977 (1980), the parcours includes sculptures, drawings, multiples and ground-breaking actions such as I like America and America likes Me (1974). The exhibition examines the ways in which Beuys’s work questioned the nature, materiality, language and perception of the boundaries and tasks of art. At the same time, it contextualizes and compares Beuys’ vision of a slow social transformation with historic and contemporary countermodels by Grace Lee Boggs, Angela Davis, Agnes Denes, Donna Haraway among others.


The exhibition is curated by Catherine Nichols, curator and researcher at Hamburger Bahnhof – Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart.

Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) was a draftsman, sculptor, action and installation artist, teacher, politician and activist. Having grown up under National Socialism in Germany, and actively participated in the Hitler Youth and the armed forces, Beuys sought to transform the totalitarian society of his youth into one of warmth and radical democracy: by means of art, and in conversation and cooperation with all people. Beuys called the collective transformation of society he envisaged “social sculpture.” By that he meant an expanded form of art, in which all human beings – as the artists they innately are – could and should participate. Comprising 15 works, the collection presentation brings together for the first time in one space Tram Stop. A monument to the future (1976), DAS KAPITAL RAUM, 1970–1977 (1980) and THE END OF THE 20TH CENTURY (1982) from the Nationalgalerie Collection. The study island offers visitors an insight into the ambivalent perception of the artist through audio contributions by well-known personalities and selected books and confronts his vision of social renewal with the civil rights activist Angela Davis, the writer Ursula Le Guin or the poet Kae Tempest, among others.

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