Joseph Beuys

Coyote II (1980)

About this artwork

This is one of a pair of images showing Beuys's 1974 'action' 'I Like America and America Likes Me'. The 'action' began as soon as the artist landed in America. He was wrapped in felt at the airport, and driven in an ambulance to René Block's Manhattan gallery. He spent three days in the gallery space with a coyote before being driven straight back to the airport and flown home. The coyote is sacred to Native Americans, and represented an aspect of the country's past that Beuys liked. This image shows items the artist used in the 'action'. The felt blanket and torch represent survival, he used the triangle to make music and lent on the shepherd's crook.

see media
  • title: Coyote II
  • accession number: AR00694
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • date created: 1980
  • measurements: 45.50 x 70.30 cm (framed: 66.20 x 90.90 x 8.50 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.