Talk:Joseph Beuys

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Beuys and Anti-Art ?[edit]

I just came across a change by User:Armando Navarro who added Anti-art as a See-also link to the article. In that article the text relevant to Beuys (and lifted from here) is:

Indebted to Romantic writers such as Novalis and Schiller, Joseph Beuys was motivated by a utopian belief in the power of universal human creativity and was confident in the potential for art to bring about revolutionary change. This translated into Beuys’s formulation of the concept of Social Sculpture, in which society as a whole was to be regarded as one great work of art (the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk) to which each person can contribute creatively (perhaps Beuys’s most famous phrase, borrowed from Novalis, is ‘Everyone is an artist’).

IMO this reflects Beuys' position correctly but it contradicts the claim of the article: he is an artist, not an anti-artist; he stands for an expansion of the concept of "art", not for taking up an opposing position (opposed to what exactly would be the question here). I think this link is quite misleading and to present Beuys as an anti-artist doesn't seem viable. Nor can I see how this text would support the anti-art article in the first place. Or am I completely off the mark here? (I haven't had time yet to look at the sources for Anti-art.) Thoughts? Enki H. (talk) 02:36, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

References that support Beuys' association with anti-art[edit]

  • RoseLee Goldberg. “Performance: live art, 1909 to the present”. H. N. Abrams, 1979, p. 96 : “Beuys's polemical art and anti-art attitudes soon began to disturb the authorities; considered a disruptive element within the institution, he was always up against considerable opposition there and was finally, in 1972, dismissed amidst violent student protest.”
  • Moira Weigel. “Grand illusion”. The Guardian, 25 April 2009. “Nor could he [Gerhard Richter] embrace the anti-art ideals of Beuys and the Fluxus group, which were deeply hostile to his form of studio practice.”
  • Michael Kimmelman. “Exploring A Labyrinth Of Ambiguities”. The New York Times, February 19, 1993. “Nonetheless, many of these early works are peculiarly exquisite. Beuys reveals in them a formal sensibility, a feel for the poetry of materials and a delicacy of touch that belie his anti-art posture.”
  • Richard Kearney. “The Wake of Imagination”. Routledge, 1998, p. 254 : “Marcel Duchamp announces the end of humanist art as an expression of the creative imagination: art becomes an anti-art which ironically mimics the dehumanizing tendencies of our mechanistic age. The works of Lichtenstein, Beuys, Ben Vautier, Ballagh and Warhol confirm this conviction.”

Armando Navarro (talk) 18:57, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Please keep this discussion on the Talk:Anti-art talk page. I have explained there why this should not be considered a Beuys topic. Thank you Enki H. (talk) 06:06, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Translating from the FA on :de: (in progress)[edit]

The German version is a Featured Article. Based on this, I am beginning a rewrite in place.

  • As I get on with this, I'll add the section headings as subheading here. That would also provide a logical place for discussion. Enki H. (talk) 03:08, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
  • References will get out of synch. For now, I'll simply copy them from the :de: version, then merge and unify them once the main body of the rewrite is in place. Enki H. (talk) 17:49, 24 April 2009 (UTC)


First draft of translation done. Added a stub for Social sculpture to :en: Enki H. (talk) 04:11, 24 April 2009 (UTC)


Restructured section headings as below. I think :de: is a little over the top in terms of detail. Will try to condense a bit as I go along and focus on that what is significant context for his work. There is an implication to this restructuring: biography and body of work will end up in separate sections, not interwoven as they are now. Enki H. (talk) 15:51, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Childhood and early life in the Third Reich (1921-1941)[edit]

First draft completed. Enki H. (talk) 17:49, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

WW II (1941-1945)[edit]

Done. Enki H. (talk) 17:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Studies and beginnings (1945-1960)[edit]

In progress. Enki H. (talk) 14:54, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Academia and public (1960 - 1975)[edit]


Documenta and commercial success[edit]

I would rather merge that contents into appropriate sections, so as not to break the chronological flow. Enki H. (talk) 15:12, 24 April 2009 (UTC) gaaaah!!!

IPA-all vs. IPA-de[edit]

The template used for the name pronunciation is the correct one. The name of a person should be pronounced correctly in any language, the concept of "German pronunciation" does not apply. This is precisely why we are using IPA. Please discuss here if there is a need to discuss. Thank you. Enki H. (talk) 21:50, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

But this is not how it's pronounced correctly in English. Normally we give the English pronunciation of names; if it's not English, per the MOS we should indicate which language it is. For example, we don't try to claim that Einstein is [ʔainʃtain] in any language, only in German. (Thanks BTW for letting me know. It's hard to follow up on AWB edits.) kwami (talk) 22:00, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
You raise an interesting subtle point; my understanding is that names are by convention and etiquette pronounced as close to the way the person addressed would pronounce his own name, as the speaker can manage. Therefore the IPA would be correct for any language, not just for German; i.e. IPA-all, not IPA-de, i.e. it's the "English" pronunciation as much as any other. Using the IPA-de template would somehow imply that the correct "English" should be different. Now, if this were German words e.g. ein Stein I would fully agree with (German pronunciation: [ʔain ʃtain]), but for the name I'd prefer (IPA: [ʔainʃtain]) over (German pronunciation: [ʔainʃtain]), we wouldn't write (ʔainstiːn) either. Also note that the IPA-de template links to the IPA chart with German paradigms which is not very useful in this context. (Now, how did we end up with Einstein?) (AWB probably caught on the deprecated IPA2 template I had originally used.) Cheers. Enki H. (talk) 23:01, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
We may try to be as close as possible, but if the name includes sounds we don't have in our language, we probably won't be very close. Our job is not to be prescriptive and tell the reader how they should pronounce a name, but only tell them how the name is pronounced, and the language it's spoken in is relevant. Now, Beuys may be obscure enough that there is no established English pronunciation, in which case we can leave it with just the German and let people try to approximate it (presumably with English /ˈbɔɪs/), but [ˈbɔʏs] is the pronunciation in German regardless, and we should inform people that. "IPA-all" isn't seen by the reader, and therefore the word "all" has no implication for the reader. It's simply the template we use when we don't have a language-specific template, or for whatever reason don't wish to use it.
"Beuys" isn't going to be much different in English and German, but what about "Jesus"? Should we only give the Aramaic, assuming we can figure out what it actually was? Or Van Gogh: even the Dutch get it wrong, and it's a Dutch name! We could transcribe it [vɑɲˈʝoç], but our Dutch sound file has [fɑŋˈxox], since the speaker was from Holland, and [væn ˈɡoʊ] is a standardized English pronunciation, just as [vɑ̃ ɡɔɡø] is conventional in French. [vɑɲˈʝoç] is certainly not the pronunciation in all languages, and people generally don't try approximating it. It's only appropriate that we label it as local Dutch. As for Einstein, it's not pronounced [ʔainʃtain] in English, so we'd be remiss to imply that it is. Per the MOS, pronunciations should be in English, and when we give non-English pronunciations, they should be labeled as such. This is really a discussion that should be taken up at WP:Pronunciation.
As for the German IPA key not being very useful, that is a different matter entirely. The solution there is to modify the key to make it more user friendly. I know this has been a complaint at some of the other language IPA keys, and some of them at least have been rewritten to accommodate.
(I'm going to add the Einstein example to the MOS, and see how people respond there.) kwami (talk) 01:13, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Another interesting (subtle) point Kwamikagami. Our job is not to be prescriptive - I would argue that IPA in an encyclopedia precisely serves the function to be prescriptive (or maybe more accurately: normative). Is it not the encyclopedia's purpose to answer the user's question: how is this pronounced "correctly"?
The crux of my argument is the claim: (1) while we are normally descriptivists, etiquette defines a special case for personal names: (2) names should be pronounced close to how the named would pronounce it him/herself. (3) IPA allows us to communicate that standard. (4) That standard can't really be considered a national pronunciation because it applie to speakers of all languages, not only the original source.
Van Gogh? How would he have pronounced it? That would be the "right" way IMO. In the end this is really a question for MOS; do you think we should we take it there? Is it important? Enki H. (talk) 03:05, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
It's definitely a case for the MOS. I think I can anticipate a typical response (though I might be surprised): this is English Wikipedia, therefore pronunciations should be in English. If for some reason a pronunciation is not in English, then we should at the very least indicate that it's not English.
A lot of people have trouble with the IPA. We get complaints about it all the time from people who want a "phonetic" notation. (I know. Don't get me started.) I think at the very least we should warn people that, not only is the transcription in the IPA, but when they finally decipher it, what they'll end up with won't be English. And in any case, except for linguists and polyglots, people are only going to be able to pronounce foreign names correctly when one of their languages happens to have the same phones as the target.
As for being semi-prescriptivist, yes, we give German pronunciations in standard German, though we do often give the local dialect as well. But people don't just want foreign pronunciations. They also want the English, if it exists. And they want to know which is which. As for politeness, that's really a cultural matter, and certainly not our place to decide. I can think of many cases where it is not normal to use a best approximation of the native pronunciation. One is Kant, which could get you slapped in the face. Another in Roh Tae-woo, since in Korean his name is pronounced "no", and the Korean government decided to go with an inauthentic spelling pronunciation in English. Plus there are lots and lots of anglicized names. In many cases, the authentic pronunciation is nearly useless: practically no-one would recognize an "authentic" pronunciation of Virgil, and though people would recognize Einstein and maybe Montreal, they'd think you're a snob. So I think we need both, and to clearly distinguish them. kwami (talk) 05:22, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Kwamikagami, I am undoing your edit one last time. You and I have no consensus on this. I say: names do not follow national pronunciations. If you must change it again, I will not contest this - there are more important things to do. Just this: I say you are prescribing your US-American perspective. Once again: there is no German way to pronounce a name respectfully, there is no English, no French, no Japanese way. There is only one respectful way - that of the name's owner - and others are not. This has nothing to do with nationality.
On a personal note: I find it troubling that one who knows more about language than many others who edit here would use his skills in this way, rather than bring knowledge into the encyclopaedia. Wikipedia desperately needs expertise like yours. But your passions seem to take you somewhere else. I sincerely hope someday you will understand. With respect: Enki H. (talk) 03:42, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
If you wish to change the way we indicate pronunciations on Wikipedia, then you really need to bring it up at MOS. I'm not imposing anything: It's a German pronunciation, and we'd be remiss not to tell our readers that. If you want to pronounce people's names exactly as they pronounce them themselves, that's great (I try to do that myself), but it's still the German pronunciation. My English name is almost impossible for anyone else to pronounce, so rather than have people mangle it, I typically take an alias when abroad. But I certainly wouldn't criticize Beuys for being unable to pronounce it correctly, or be insulted if he didn't use the English pronunciation of my name when speaking German.
"Bring knowledge"? You're attempting to delete knowledge, by pretending that this is not the German pronunciation. It certainly isn't the English pronunciation, which is what we expect in an article, since it's impossible in English. English doesn't have those sounds. What's so bad about it being German? He's German, it's hardly surprising that his name is German. You're attempting to impose your own values on others, while denying it. kwami (talk) 07:16, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Since you haven't done so, I've taken it up at MOS in case anyone there agrees with you. kwami (talk) 07:37, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
I have to say I'm with Kwami on this. Take Khrushchev as a further example. In Russian one would pronounce the name /xruˈɕːof/. In English it is generally pronounced /ˈkruʃtʃev/. These are facts about how the name is normally pronounced in Russian and English. We could argue about whether it's polite or impolite that English speakers don't tend to say /xruˈɕːof/, or whether Khrushchev minded or not. But that's actually irrelevant, which is exactly the point about encyclopedias being descriptive and not prescriptive. I notice that the article for Khrushchev doesn't give a pronunciation, but I'd advocate its saying something like: "Russian pronunciation /xruˈɕːof/; in English normally /ˈkruʃtʃev/". To take other examples: we say /ˈdʒuljəs ˈsizə(r)/ and /ˈsɪsəroʊ/ not /iuːlijus ˈkaisar/ and /ˈkikero/, despite knowing how the two individuals would have referred to themselves. Nor do we English speakers tend to pronounce Sarkozy's name with [ʁ]. I'm afraid names aren't international; there may be international tendencies to pronounce a name one way, which may or may not reflect how the name is pronounced in the bearer's own language, or there may be various conventional pronunciations in different languages. All Wikipedia should do is describe how a name is normally pronounced in relevant languages. garik (talk) 09:52, 19 May 2009 (UTC) edited by garik (talk) 10:51, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Getting back to the more practical issue of what template to use: The only argument I can see for using IPA-all is that the page it directs to might be more helpful for users who don't know any German than the one IPA-de directs to. But that's more a matter of improvements being needed on the IPA-de page. Otherwise the logic would lead us to use IPA-all for all transcriptions, and to abandon the more specific pages except as a guide for editors. The pronunciation of the name Joseph Beuys should be treated the same as the pronunciation of words like Schadenfreude, and that means that IPA-de is the correct template. garik (talk) 10:21, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Don't forget Cat and Girl[edit]

Cat and Girl have their own page on Wikipedia, and is a webcomic with a fairly big following. Is it worth mentioning in the article the role Zombie Josheph Bueys plays in the comic? (talk) 03:02, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Beuys and Dalai Lama[edit]

There were some plans by Beuys to collaborate with the 14th Dalai Lama and met with him personally. These information are not included at all in the article. There is quite some literature about it but the knowledge within a broader public got almost lost. It might be good to include some information in the article. I added a link at the very end that informs about the background and aims, and that has also some further reading recommendations: –– (talk) 15:59, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Fictionalization ?[edit]

The fictionalization parts are poorly explained here. The casual reader would think that he fictionalized most everything. However, it appears that he did crash during the war, he was treated by the local people, and returned to Germany with burns on his body. Which parts are fictionalized should be more specific on this page, instead of quoting someone who seems to have had some jealousy issues or superiority complex. Also, he was a founding member of the Green Party, which is an artistic act in itself, as is the 7000 oaks project, which, like all his work, brilliantly blurs the lines between art, politics, and primitive nature, and is more relevant today that ever, the trees are still growing, the artwork is expanding. What other artist can say that, decades after they are dead ? "Shot down over the Crimea in a snowstorm in 1943, badly wounded and looked after for some days by Tartars." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:16, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. Such smear attempts are no t corroborated by any credible evidence, and should be removed.

"apparent eyewitnesses"[edit]

"apparent eyewitnesses" are not considered credible sources on Wikipedia, and sections using much much more credible sources are often removed on other Wikipedia pages. This whole attempt to smear Beuys based by lynch mob rumor mentality in the art critic circles should be removed. All credibly sources say that he was shot down, and was treated by locals. And the use of fat and butter as a healing agent was common practice. There are no credible sources that disprove Beuys' story, and this was just a smear attempt by jealous small minded art critiques and people who have never been anywhere or done anything, and who can't accept that tribal people knew how to heal themselves of many ailments and accidents. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 14 January 2015 (UTC)


At least one of the references - 'Beuys (1975)' at n. 21 - doesn't refer anywhere. There's nothing matching in the German wiki either. I wonder how pervasive this gap is. Ought there not be a bibliography in this article? (talk) 23:01, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

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