Joseph Beuys

Sekretarstasche (1976)

About this artwork

Inside this envelope is a handwritten manuscript titled 'The Energie (sic) Plan for the Western Man'. This relates to a 1974 lecture tour of the same name that Beuys made in America. It was his first trip to the United States and he used it to lecture on the theme of social sculpture, addressing students and women's groups. The ten-day tour stopped at colleges in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis and during each lecture the artist would make notes on a blackboard, which was an essential tool for his talks. Beuys believed that Western culture was on the verge of an 'energy crisis', which each person must develop their own source of creativity to help combat.

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  • title: Sekretarstasche
  • accession number: AR00601
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1976
  • measurements: 40.80 x 24.80 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © DACS 2016.
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys

German artist Beuys believed that art was integral to everyday life. His own art was shaped by an experience early in his life. As a Luftwaffe pilot during the war, Beuys was shot down over the Crimea and was saved by nomadic Tartars. Barely alive, he was wrapped in felt and fat which preserved his body heat, and taken to safety on sledges pulled by dogs. This incident, and these particular elements, informed much of his art, which has a redemptive, mystical and ritualistic character. Central to his work were his 'Actions', which involved teaching, audience discussion and performance. The recurrent themes were social and political. Associated with the ecological movement - he was a founder member of the Green Party - he also had a strong influence on German politics.