The Pack (das Rudel)

About Joseph Beuys

A major figure of the postwar German avant-garde, Joseph Beuys viewed art as a vehicle for social change. His performance art "actions" were shamanistic experiences incorporating ritualized movement and sound, as well as non-traditional and even repulsive materials such as fat, felt, honey, blood, and dead animals. For example, in his groundbreaking 1965 performance How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, Beuys—who was covered in symbolic materials such as honey, gold leaf, and iron—explained artworks to a cradled hare. Akin to Andy Warhol in influence but with a more widely (and wildly) ranging formal vocabulary, Beuys counted debate and teaching as part of his art and was a leader in many socioeconomic reform movements.