Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 11

1

BayleyWilson March18th,2014 ArtHistoryC150Winter14 FinalPaper BeuysandWarhol: RecallingTraumainanEraofSpectacleandSuperficiality Therisemassculture,andtheinfiltrationofcommodificationwithinsocietyweremost recognizablyarticulatedbyGuyDeBords1967work,TheSocietyofSpectacle.Hisfocusonthe individualconsumerasapartofthespectacleembracedthenotionofacommoditizedsocietyina postwareraofreconstruction.DeBordopenlycriticizedcapitalistculture,asasocietypermeatedwith imageryisinherentlymediatedbytheimageryitself.AsDeBordstates:thespectacleistheaffirmation ofappearanceandtheaffirmationofallhuman,namelysociallife,asmereappearance.1Representation initselfbecomesgenuine,creatingahighlyproducedreality.InconjunctionwithDeBordstheory,artist JosephBeuysutilizedhisworkasanattempttocriticizespectacle,engagingwithsocietyinanattempt todemocratizeart,openingituptoacollectivepublicrealm.Likemanyartistsofhistimeherejected modernism,throughhiscriticalengagementofunconventionalmodesofartisticproduction.Throughhis unorthodoxpractice,hepromotedwhathereferredtoassocialsculpture,aconceptthatemphasized theacceptanceofeverythingandanythingasvalidmaterialforartisticproduction. Beuysworkidealizesthecollectivewhilealsorecognizingtheimportanceoftheindividual.The dichotomyofperspectivechallengesandcreatesacommentaryonsocialconventioninthecontextof radicalpoliticalandsocietaltransformation,asitpertainstotheriseofcommercialismandcapitalism. TheintentionofthispaperistocloselyexamineBeuyspieceILikeAmericaandAmericaLikesMe, inrelationtoGuyDeBord'snotionofspectaclethatinfluencedthebeginningsofPopArtMovement,

Debord,Guy,andDonaldSmith.TheSocietyoftheSpectacle.NewYork:ZoneBooks,1994.

withaspecificfocusonhowBeuyspiececompareswithAndyWarholsBirminghamRaceRiots. Thecomparisonpresentsarelationshipbetweenthetwoartistsdirectlyinfluencedbytheradically shiftingsociopoliticalclimateinbothEuropeandtheUnitedStatesatthetime.Thiswasalsoaperiod wherethepositionandroleoftheartistbegantochangeinorderobserveandcritiquetheaesthetic natureofthecommercialandpopularculture.Bothpiecesinvolvespectacle,throughthemysteriously convolutedallegoricalandsymbolicgestureinBeuyspieceandtheintegrationofduplicationand repetitionseeninWarholswork.Whileconstructingacommentaryonhistoricaltrauma,thesetwo piecesalsocontributetoadevaluationofmeaningregardingimageryandsymbolism,whichisdesigned toemulatewhilealsoengagingsocietyasaculturalspectacle. Inanattempttoconnectavantgardeartpracticetotherealitiesoftheworld,BeuyspieceI LikeAmericaandAmericaLikesMeappearedtobeadirectcriticismofcapitalistcultureaswellasa commentaryonthealienationacapitalistculturecreates.InMayof1974,Beuyswastransportedvia ambulancefromJFKAirporttotheReneBlockGalleryat409WestBroadwayinNewYork,where hisperformancewouldbetheopeningeventforthatgallery.Beuysemphasisonalienationasapartof thespectacleisevidentinhisperformance,whichidealizestherepresentationofdisengagementwith society.Throughhisliteralcontainment,heisdisplayinghimselfintheactofalienationtothepublicfor mediacirculationandrecognition.Separation,accordingtoDeBordstheory,characterizestheunified connectionsocietycreatesthroughthespectacle.2Yetwithinthatconnectiontheindividualstillremains incrediblyalienated.Beuysownalienationservestoemulatethatinherentdisconnectashewantedto isolatehimself,andinhiswordsseenothingofAmericaotherthanthecoyote.3ILikeAmerica

ibid. Beuys,Joseph.JosephBeuysinAmerica:EnergyPlanfortheWesternMan:Writingsbyand InterviewsWiththeArtist.NewYork:FourWallsEightWindows,1990.Print.


3

operatedasasocialorganism,literallytakingonitsownformtoestablishasenseofrecognitionof historicalwrongsandattemptingtoachieveanewcollectiveunderstandingtoreconcilewiththatpast trauma. EngagementwithmassculturethroughtraumaticimageryiswhereBeuysworkintersectswith AndyWarhol'sBirminghamRaceRiots.TheworksuggestsWarholspiecestronglyevokeshis objectivetolookintentlyintowhatwascurrentlyhappeninginAmerica,andneutralizesuchtraumatic incidentsasasubjectmatterforhisworkdirectlyforpublicconsumption.BeuysILikeAmerica,on theotherhand,usedthecoyotetorepresentpastAmericantraumasinrelationtoNativeAmerican genocidethroughanindirectsymbol.AsapartoftheDeathandDisasterSeries,BirminghamRace Riots,inparticular,depictedWarholsrepresentationofaturbulentmomentintimewiththeintenton critiquingconstantexposureofdistressingimageryinthemedia.Theactoftraumaitselfbecomes alienatedthroughamassproducedimage,makingitintosomethingtoseeratherthansomethingtobe acknowledged.WarholcapturesBirminghamatatimeofprotests,discrimination,andincursionsoncivil rightswithaheadonconfrontationoftherawviolentnatureoftheconflict.Asitiscapturedatmoment throughthestarkblackandwhiteimage,thatisrepeatednotonlyintheoriginalblackandwhiteform, butalsoinvariouscolors.Comingfromapostwarmentality,Beuys,ontheotherhand,whowas directlyexposedtosuchhorrorsoftheHolocaustandwarfare,attemptedtocreateacritical commentaryregardingvictimizationthatresultsfromthesetraumaticevents.Bothpiecesintently exploitedinstancesoftrauma,butfordistinctlydifferentpurposes. ILikeAmericawasanextremesymbolicgesturethatinvitedanopenexplorationofhistorical traumafrombothanAmericanandEuropeanstandpoint.Concerningthispiece,Beuysstated:Ibelieve ImadecontactwiththepsychologicaltraumapointoftheUnitedStatesenergyconstellation:thewhole

AmericantraumawiththeIndian,theRedMan.4TounderstandBeuyssstatement,onemustconsider thesymbolicnatureofthecoyoteinthecontextofAmericanculture.TheenergyBeuysreferredto wasthecoyote,whichservedasarepresentationofNativeAmericangenocide,andasymbolicimage ofthevictims.Beingapredatorycreaturedeemedbywesternsocietyasamenaceorpest,onecan maketheconnectiontoitsrelationshiptoNativeAmericancommunitiesandthewesterncultureby whichitwasdestroyed.Thetraumapoint,asBeuyswouldcallit,standssignificantinhowtraumatic imageryitselfpermeatessocietythroughitsrepresentation.Throughexposure,thereisanacceptanceof notonlytheinstanceoftrauma,butaneutralizationoftheentireconceptaswell.Similarly,Warhol intentionallyusedrepetitionofthebrutalimageryduringtheincidentsinBirmingham,mirroringits representationinmassmedia.Throughthisdepiction,Warholisprobingthenotionofthepublics unfortunatedesensitizationtoit.Withinbothworks,theartistsestablishedacknowledgementofthe superficialnatureofdepictionoftraumaasitappearswithinpopularculture. Whileartisticallyengagingwithactsoftraumaticviolencetocreateastatement,thetwoartists, indifferingapproachesembodiedDeBordstheoryofspectacle.Takingontheroleoftheiconasan artistmeanteffectivelyattemptingtopresentthemselvesasaspectacularrepresentationofaliving being5.Guidedbythisconcept,theartistneededtomoldthemselvesintosomeonewhopersonified multiplerolesthatcreatedamarketableimageforthepublic.BeuysandWarhol,throughdivergent approaches,bothengagedwiththeideaofcelebrityandthecommodificationofthemselvesasicons. LookingatWarhol,heemergesasacaricatureofhimself,andusesthatimageasasaleablecommodity. InordertomarkethisworkswithinthesametraumaticsphereasTheBirminghamRaceRiots,he neededtobecomeasdesensitizedastheimagesheproduced.Beuys,ontheotherhand,createdarole

4 5

Tisdall,Caroline.JosephBeuys,Coyote.London:Thames&Hudson,2008. Debord,Guy,andDonaldSmith.TheSocietyoftheSpectacle.NewYork:ZoneBooks,1994.

forhimselfbeyondtheartist.Throughhiselaborateandextensivebiographyhetransformedhimself throughhisartintoashamanistichealer,politicalactivist,andoutspokenperformer.Theinherent pedagogicalnaturebehindBeuysILikeAmerica,addstoitspresentationofspectacle.Althoughthe performancewascreatedasaneventtoengagethepublicwithapowerfulmessage,itbecameanimage inandofitself.Theperformanceessentiallybecamesomethingthatcouldbemarketedandsoldtothe public,capturingtheveryessenceofspectaclethroughtheriseofconsumerculture. Whetheritwasintentionalornot,Beuyscameoffasafigurewhowasveryabletomanipulate andmarketacertainimagewithinarealmofmediathroughtheuseofmultipleroles.Beuysdueling personalitywasillreceivedbytheAmericanpublicasJoanRothfusswouldstatethatthecriticssniffed thathewasfartoomasterfulatselfpromotionandmediamanipulationevenhissupporterswrinkled theirnosesatthecultofpersonalitythatovershadowedthetrueaimofhiswork.6Hisengagement withmassmediaandculturecanbeenseeninconnectiontoWarhol,whocanbeconsideredbusiness artisthimself,withregardtohisownpracticesofselfpromotionandmediamanipulation.WhereBeuys usedhismultidimensionalimagetoengagewiththepublicasafigureofenlightenmentandknowledge, Warholengagedwithimagefetishization.Thetwoartists,usedatacticalmeansofmediaexploitationto promotetheirworkandthemessagetheywereattemptingtomakethroughthesepieces. BothBeuysandWarholusedtheconstructedimagetoeffectivelypromotethemessagesthey intendedtocreate.Throughtheembraceofhorrificimagerywas,initself,asymbolicgesture.In BirminghamRaceRiots,Warholusedthesilkscreenedimagestodirectlyengagesubjectsthatare specificallydesignedformediacirculationwiththeintentofoffsettingtheverytraumatheyare associatedwithtocommodifythemtomakeitmoreacceptableforthenewspectacularculture.

Rothfuss,Joan."JosephBeuys:EchoesinAmerica."InJosephBeuys:MappingtheLegacy.NewYork, NY:DistributedArtPublishers,2001.51.

Throughhisconcentrationonthemassproducedimage,hecreatedacommentaryregardingthelossof resonanceandshockvalueafterbeingsofrequentlypublicized.Throughadifferentartisticmodeof production,ILikeAmerica,wasBeuysattempttoactasanhealerofthewoundsaffiliatedwith historicaltraumaandsocialalienationdueinparttoanewfoundcapitalistsociety.Bycontrast,Warhol presentedthehorroroftheseimagesastheywere,implicatingatypeofuniquebeautyassociatedwith thattrauma.Warholsinvolvementwiththemassproductionofimages,speakstohismoveof relinquishinghimselfastheartisttothisnewfoundideaofimageculturedirectlyengagingwithit. InPatHackettandAndyWarholsbookPOPism,Warholreflectsuponthewelcomingof repeatedexposurestating:themoreyoulookatthesameexactthing,themorethemeaninggoes away,andtheemptieryoufeel.Warholpurposefullyembracedthedeteriorationofmeaningthrough repetitionandflatness,commentingontheparadoxthatthelongerwelookattheseimagesthelesswe feel.TherepetitionalonesignifiesWarholsattempttodelineatethedegradationoftraumaticimagery throughmassmediaconsumption,whilealsoopeningituptopresentingthesignificanceoftheimage itself.UnlikeBeuys,Warholembracedspectaclethroughacceptanceandacknowledgementofthe prominenceofimagecultureinsociety.ThroughBeuysovercomplicatedgestureofanartisticdtente andcritiqueofmassculture,ILikeAmericawasessentiallystrippedofitsmeaningentirely.Hisattempt tounifyartandlifeactedasaninherentaccusatorygesture,displayingtheincursionofevilsandtrauma ofbothpastandpresentinourculture.7JanVerwoertclaimsthatthecoyote,likely,themostprominent symbolinBeuyspiece,actuallyprovestobedetrimentaltoBeuysintentions.Verowertstatesthatthe coyoteclearlydelimitstheallegoricalmeaningoftheperformance.Througheverythinghe[Beuys] does,thecoyotedemonstrateshisutterindifferencetotheartisticallegorybeingconstructedaroundhim

Durini,Lucrezia,andJosephBeuys."TheDiamond."InThefelthat:JosephBeuys,alifetold.NewEnglished. Milano:Charta,1997.82.

and,indoingso,destabilizesit.8Apresentationintendedasapowerfulgesture,loadedwith representationandmeaning,collapsesduetotheopposingdynamicofthetwomostprominentfigures. Thus,thecredibilityoftheperformanceitselfisdestabilized,makingthevieweruncomfortableandwary ratherthaninformedandinspiredthroughthegrandsweepingstatement.GoingbacktoDeBordsidea ofalienation,Beuysultimatelycontinuestoisolatehimselfwithinhisownwork,whichwaspartly intendedasacritiqueofthatverynotion. Whenlookingattheapproachofthesetwoartistshowever,theeasilyperceiveddifferenceis theirattitudetowardstheaudiencetheywereproducingtheirworksfor.TheobjectivebehindWarhols BirminghamRaceRiotswasmeanttorepresentanAmericanculturesodesensitizedbytheriseof consumerculture,thattheinherentlyviolentnatureoftheimagestheyarebearingwitnesstojust becomessomethingthatcanbecommodified.Hisindependenceasanicon,withtheembraceof spectacularculturethroughthemanifestationofhiscaricature,celebrityfigurereflectedalmostan indifferencetotheideaofimageculture.Beuys,ontheotherhand,throughhisefforttoembodytherole ofahealerinILikeAmerica,attemptedtoaidinthepublicsreconciliationwithpasttraumas.InDonald Kuspitswords,Beuysrepresentsthemoststrenuousavantgardeattempttoreconciletherolesof artistandhealer,tomakeartakindofhealingandtomakehealingartistic9.Beuysartisticproduction duringthistimerelinquishedthetraditionalroleoftheartist.Themultirolepositionheplayedengageda postwarmomentofsocialandpoliticalreconstructionandtransformation,connectingthepracticeofart andlife.BothBeuysandWarholsoughtwaysofengagingtherealityoftheiraudiences,inorderto confrontsociopoliticalconcernsofthetime.

Warhol,Andy,andPatHackett.POPism:theWarhol'60s.NewYork:HarcourtBrace Jovanovich,1980.QuotedinFoster,Hal."DeathinAmerica."October75(1996):3659. 9 Kuspit,DonaldB.TheCultoftheAvantGardeArtist.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress,1993.

ILikeAmerica,andBirminghamRaceRiotsconfrontedtraumaticimageryfilteredthroughthe newlyestablishedimageculture,andtheirengagementwithspectacleharboredtheideaofbotha critiqueandacceptanceofsociety.Warhol,inanironicallyenthusiasticwaytookituponhimselfto embracethehorrificimagery,whileBeuysemphaticallysoughttomendthewoundsofhistorical suffering,andsimultaneouslycriticizingcommodityculture.Thetwoartistsreflectamomentintime whereartthatwasonceanautographicandprivilegedconcept,andopenedthepracticeuptoamore publicdomain.Thetwopiecesservedasbothameansofexpressingthelackofindependencedueto commercialism,whilealsoinherentlycelebratingit.Bothimagesplayedambivalentlywithmassculture, whichwasusedasamodeofrepresentationtodepictthesinfulnatureofspectacleandtheconsumer cultureofthetime.

10

SelectedBibliography Beuys,Joseph,andJrgSchellmann.JosephBeuys:Multiples.4thcompletelyrev.ed.Mnchen: Schellmann&Klser,1977.Print. Beuys,Joseph.JosephBeuysinAmerica:EnergyPlanfortheWesternMan:Writingsbyand InterviewsWiththeArtist.NewYork:FourWallsEightWindows,1990.Print. Beuys,Joseph,VolkerHarlan,MatthewBarton,andShelleySacks."ConversationWithJoseph Beuys."InWhatisart?:ConversationWithJosephBeuys.London:ClairviewBooks,2004.9. Buchloh,Benjamin."Beuys:TwilightoftheIdol."InNeoAvantGardeandCultureofIndustry: EssaysonEuropeanandAmericanArtfrom1955to1975.2000.Reprint,Massachusetts:The MITPress,2003.48. Buchloh,Benjamin,RosalindKrauss,andAnnetteMichelson."JosephBeuysattheGuggenheim." October12(1980):321. Debord,Guy,andDonaldSmith.TheSocietyoftheSpectacle.NewYork:ZoneBooks,1994. Durini,Lucrezia,andJosephBeuys."TheDiamond."InTheFeltHat:JosephBeuys,aLifeTold. NewEnglished.Milano:Charta,1997.82.

Foster,Hal."DeathinAmerica."October75(1996):3659.
Kuspit,DonaldB.TheCultoftheAvantGardeArtist.Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press,1993. Moffitt,JohnF.OccultisminAvantGardeArt:theCaseofJosephBeuys.AnnArbor,Mich.: UMIResearchPress,1988. Moffitt,JohnF."TheArtWorld:BeuysinaContemporaryContext."InOccultismin avantgardeart:thecaseofJosephBeuys.AnnArbor,Mich.:UMIResearchPress,1988.1011. Rothfuss,Joan."JosephBeuys:EchoesinAmerica."InJosephBeuys:MappingtheLegacy.New York,NY:DistributedArtPublishers,2001.51. Thistlewood,David.JosephBeuys:DivergingCritiques.Liverpool:LiverpoolUniversityPress andTateGalleryLiverpool,1995. Tisdall,Caroline.JosephBeuys,Coyote.London:Thames&Hudson,2008.

11

Verwoert,Jan,TheBoss:OntheUnresolvedQuestionofAuthorityinJosephBeuysOeuvreand PublicImage,eFluxJournal12,no.1(2008) Warhol,Andy,andPatHackett.POPism:theWarhol'60s.NewYork:HarcourtBrace Jovanovich,1980.QuotedinFoster,Hal."DeathinAmerica."October75(1996):3659.

Оценить