visionary German artist Joseph Beuys
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In May 1974, the visionary German artist Joseph Beuys flew into New York City’s John F Kennedy International Airport and was immediately taken by ambulance to a room in West Broadway’s Rene Block Gallery. But he was not ill, or even in pain. Carried by stretcher, which was covered in his signature layer of felt, Beuys shared this solitary space with a coyote — a wild beast, often considered to represent America’s untamed spirit — for three days. It was a performance, entitled I Like America and America likes Me, taut with caution , but one that was ultimately a success: the coyote grew tolerant, accepting, simply through Beuys’ desire to heal.
It’s a potent, profound image, and one that today is as prescient as ever. The United States of America is in a troublesome situation as a declining global power, having to now deal with the failings of modernity and late capitalism. Considering this piece, do you think this work takes on new meaning given our current political situation, and how we deal with cultural differences and the treatment of others (animal or human)?