Week 3 Assignment Post

Please post at least two thoughtful comments on the readings for this week: pages 97-151 in the Goldberg book. You will also need to have your Performing the Self project ready to perform in class and have posted 4 links to your del.icio.us site.

Here are some considerations:

  • Suggest a theoretical happening based on the tenants of the Bauhaus (descriptions of Bauhaus festivities and Schlemmer’s conceptual assertions might be a starting point.)
  • What concerns of the period influenced the aesthetic investigations of the Bauhaus (re: interest in technology, etc.) and what parallel concerns of contemporary life might likewise influence your aesthetics?
  • How do accounts of and artists statements regarding some of the early happenings in the 1950s-early 1960s fit in to class discussion regarding the need or lack of need for artist intent and responsibility? (ex., Alan Kaprow’s statement regarding 18 Happenings in 6 Parts: “the actions will mean nothing clearly formulable so far as the artist is concerned.”)
  • Discuss and react to the social implications of the work of Klein, Manzoni, and Beuys; or defend the assertion that Joseph Beuys is the best artist ever.


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27 responses to “Week 3 Assignment Post

  1. ladywood

    Beuys is the best artist ever!
    Seriously, I think Beuys has a fascinating story and because of it has fantastic art. In WWII Beuys crashed in an icy land (I don’t remember all the details) and almost froze to death, but was rescued by the people of the land. They wrapped him in fat and then felt to heat him up and saved his life. This is why we see fat and felt in his art so often, such as Far Chair, and Fat Corner.
    I also loved his performance piece where he locked himself up in a room with a wild wolf for several days with nothing but a cane and rolls of felt to wrap himself up it.
    Beuys rocks!

  2. ladywood

    Klein was one of the first to implicate performance art, or was at least one of the first best ones. After creating IKB, Internation Klein Blue, he did numerous performance pieces with it where naked women we dipped in it and then dragged out on a piece of paper to make a ‘stamp’ of their bodies. In the background a string quartet played a single note. I believe socially Klein was accepted. However, later in life Klein was watching a film reel of odd and strange things from America, I believe, and a clip from his body-stamping women was on it. It caused a heart attack and he later died. Socially, I liked him!

  3. heidirides

    The social implications of Klein were, and probably still are, the continued reinforcement of the white male artist as genius ideology. He was an egomaniac who exploited his exclusively female models to a degree not before seen. He reinforced the long history of the perception of women in art as an object of desire and possession. Had he been a woman, I think his artwork would have been groundbreaking. It would have served to reclaim the female image for women. As it happens, he was just another self absorbed megalomaniac, and that’s what killed him.

  4. Cheri Soulia

    The Bauhaus was an interesting school that I think was influenced a lot by the demise of the German Monarchy and other outside influences of the world. Even though at the time art in Germany was very conservative, it quickly moved to more radical and simplified art. Finally because people were not being oppressed they were able to express themselves freely.

  5. Cheri Soulia

    I think Beuys is an interesting man because his art is so influenced by his experiences. I definitely agree with Ladywood that Beuys is a great artist. His work expanded the art world’s boundaries and really got people thinking. Beuys wanted to explain that art was just as fleeting as life is and I think he definitely portrayed this a lot in his felt and fur works. Much of his work was with animal bones or natural objects that would eventually decompose which reinforced his ideals.

  6. Cheri Soulia

    I think Beuys is an interesting man because his art is so influenced by his experiences. I definitely agree with Ladywood that Beuys is a great artist. His work expanded the art world’s boundaries and really got people thinking. Beuys wanted to explain that art was just as fleeting as life is and I think he definitely portrayed this a lot in his felt and fur works. Much of his work was with animal bones or natural objects that would eventually decompose which reinforced his ideals.

  7. proverbs3v18

    What about Manzoni? I for one, could not help but latch onto his idea “…that the world too could be declared an artwork” (149). This is the key statement that has now allowed me to see the validity of performance art – and possibly my understanding of what some of these artists are doing. It is like saying “Life is an Art” – which makes total sense because life and the world are spontaneous and not fully controllable– and from there can be derived the everyday actions choreographed or spontaneously done in these works –

    Even from this thought, I can now see a possible meaning of Dada and their anti-art tendency – like a mocking of humanity for trying to control nature and be rigid…

  8. proverbs3v18

    I’ve saw some of Jim Dine’s work some years back – his drawings/paintings were full of incredible energy (an agitated, active kind) on huge papers/canvases. Excellent stuff.

    The noise-art aspect of this reading somehow reminded me of music I have heard – in which they use everyday “noises” in their compositions. Recently, I hear more “noise” being incorporated into music, but do not think of it as “noise” in the negative sense – perhaps because they are so well integrated into the piece? Is it possible that the use of “noise” in music came out of these movements?

  9. cmndrkeen

    I completely agree with Manzoni’s ideas as well. Life is art. I think I have come to the conclusion that not only is it art if the artist intends it to be, but if anyone, just one person, looks at something and views it as a peice of art, it is art. Art can be based on aesthetics and composition, and color, such as paintings or sculptures that are viewed as more traditional types of art, or art can be found within the concept that the artist wishes to portray as well as the meaning the viewer derives from it. Any aspect of life can be emphasized, or criticized, or defined, by art. And art is every aspect of life.

  10. cmndrkeen

    The Bauhaus mixed everything up. Several genres of art were taught, practiced, and performed. Also, performances were often several pieces of art being performed simultaneously.


    An orchestra of pots and pans, saws, and office machines provide an atmosphere of noise-music.
    -At the same time, three people placed in different locations in the audience stand and recite poems.
    -The lights change color and spotlights move around the auditorium, highlighting performers and audience members at intervals.
    -Across the stage dance actors that shout random phrases.

    This could definitely be a performance at the Bauhaus. Not only is the audience experiencing different types of art at the same time, but every audience member gets a different experience based on where they are seated and what the focus on individually.

  11. thehankfuldread

    well, in response to heidi’s comment. i disagree? completely? i think. as much as i know of klein, he doesn’t seem at all as heidi described. sure, he may have used women as objects of desire, but (biologically speaking) that is a hard thing to avoid. (it would be easier to defend this point in person, i know i sound like an ass). i feel that his usage of the human form was if not novel, at least tasteful. of all of the works that i have seen at least. very abstract forms of the body are what are represented on the canvases, and they are almost implied, but on a deeper level, since they are actual imprints of a human body. so, i feel that klein was no such thing, heidi. =)

  12. molly

    Kaprow’s Happenings are quite fascinating in the way that they are extensively rehearsed and planned creating something completely spontaneous and impulsive. Kaprow’s intent was, it seems, to create the illusion of having no intent at all. Interestingly, in this way, the artist statement becomes an imperative part of the work itself, included in the notes that were sent out to the audience members and the rehearsal plans.
    While most of the time, an artist statement creates a disingenuous thought process within the viewer, in Kaprow’s happenings, his preparing the audience for the work helped fuel the impulsive activities.

  13. thehankfuldread

    being a lover of sounds (and john cage), i am thrilled to start reading about him. his theory of performance, in which music can either be improvised or written, but, the written pieces should be written with it in mind that these performances should be different, at each performance, and there should always be a certain amount of uncertainty. hence – non intentional music. and then, the way cunningham started tying in dance in the same way that cage viewed sounds is mind blowing. seeing all of these really natural, and common movements as dance is a beautiful thing.

  14. molly

    If anyone was a megalomaniac, it was Manzoni. Blowing up baloons, and calling it “artist’s breath” and selling them? Signing his name directly on to a person and handing them a “certificate” declaring them a work of art? And each person was valued differently! Klein may have used women as paint rollers for his precious blue color, but clearly Manzoni had the bigger ego.

  15. desibrink


  16. desibrink

    whoops, weird cryptic stuff the first time I tried to post….
    Lets try again:
    I personally found Piero Manzoni to be really quite comical. If I was a rich, eccentric millionaire I might buy some of his “artist’s breath” balloons just for the heck of it. I would at least be fun to make others think me as a weirdo when I told them about it . And who wouldn’t want to be one of Manzoni’s living sculptures?
    I think a woman signed by him went well with Klein’s nude modals-made- paintbrush.

  17. desibrink

    This is why Joseph Beuys is the best:
    How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. He covered his face in honey and gold and talked to a dead rabbit at his first solo exhibition. Sounds crazy, but if one evaluates the concepts behind it, its kind of cool….
    like the fact that he carefully thinks about the materials he uses. The honey was said to represented an ideal society of warmth and brotherhood, the Gold had to do with alchemical, and iron represented a masculine principle of strength and connection to the earth.

  18. heidirides

    Ahhh, Mr. Manzoni, artist extraordinaire. Sure, this guy may have had some power issues, but I appreciate his contributions to the art world more than, “Mr. I have my own patented color.” I see his artwork more as an extension of Dada and Duchamp. Like Duchamp I think he was trying to expand the definition of art. He was more interested in pushing the envelope as to what can be considered art. Is something art because it’s pleasant to view, or is something art because an “artist” says it is? What is art? I think this question is still debated today. Is a Pollock drip painting a work of art? Is a great ape who uses sign language and plays with pigment a painter?

  19. cleasure

    The implication of Klein’s artwork seems to be that he wanted to increase the importance of art, create works on a much larger scale. Since he viewed art as life, it is not surprising that he would take a living thing, such as a model, and use her as a paint brush. Perhaps by manipulating living things and the process of art, he felt that he could finally escape the “prison” that painting represented to him. It appears to me that Klein was searching, through his artwork, for a means of controlling life and in his search he discovered a new means of artistic expression.

  20. cleasure

    As opposed to Klein, Joseph Beuys’ art appears to be less of a reaction to studio art, in the purist sense, and more of an attempt to create unique experiences for meditation and learning. His pieces, especially “I like America and America Likes Me,” have such a potential for creating awareness in both the audience and Beuys. In this piece, Beuys loses a lot of control of the direction the piece will take. A lot of reaction is left up to the coyote and, by taking this chance, there is a greater opportunity that the experience will be entirely new and interesting.

  21. kait

    Piero Manzoni effect on the art world was taking things that were not normally considered to be art and calling them art. I believe that he has a lot to do with the fact that many are unsure as to what is considered art. With Manzoni the idea behind what he creates is the art not the piece itself. He did have very unique ideas with great concepts…many times i feel as though the concept was lost with oddity of the pieces’ asthetic purposes.

  22. kait

    Klien. Klien to me had a lot lacking. To me his art seems to be a bit of an ego trip with the pattened color blue, the self harmonic symphony, etc. His effects on art in this time period was the create something out of nothing. Hence his ideas of “the void.” it almost as if he wanted to create art and beauty out of nothingness and he felt as though that was art and wanted his spectators the feel the same by selling void. sure something that was not done before,and new idea, but come on who buys empty space…

  23. Trinityblk

    Personally Il oved the idea of Klien’s work. Did anyone else see the photos of the starched, tie wearing men and upper crust ladies watching his “paint” brush ladies paint the canvas?!? This was wonderful and if it had been in today time frame it would not have been as exciting. Usually men and women are art subjects not the tools. To use bare naked women as a “tool” is courageus I think. If Klein or Manzoni were male shovenist pigs, who cares? I have worked with plenty of corporate male pigs and the didn’t create art. Just think how emotionally strong the women would have to have been to do such work. Why do a typical “sexist” receptionist job when you could display your body and participate in something “more”. This is the 60’s people, an age when women were still supposed not to matter. If the women were not important to Klein would he be able to create art still?

  24. Trinityblk

    In replying to thehankfuldread’s comment about John cage I agree. I cannot personally handle to much of “noise” music, but I fully appreciate people trying to make sounds from non-traditional instruments. How did the first instruments come about anyway? Tubas, flutes and violins weren’t just lying around playing themselves. People created these instruments by discovery. When people play with new sounds and use common materials to make music I fell we are expanding our knowledge of music.

    This idea leads me to marvel at the Bauhaus “school”. I can only imagine the sounds and sights that came out of that place. They truly had a mission to explore all art and to incorporate all art into their own discoveries. While it seems most groups (Dada, Surrealists, Futurists etc) only wanted one way to do “art”, Bauhaus welcomed all so that the evolution of “art” could freely take place. Plus the “school” was well organized and had great leadership to add to the value of the works they were creating. If someone does a stellar performance art piece in a forest and no one sees it….does it exist? Bauhaus made sure that the art they created was shown and publically explored.

  25. Trinityblk

    Is Klein or Manzoni’s art as different than toilets as art? Still shocking, still not “clasical” art. http://www.toiletmuseum.com/

  26. kkomaenge

    In German “Bauhaus” means build the house. I think Bauhaus is really influenced for who ever study for art. I want to say that Bauhaus influenced the world. Many people can learn art more freely. The most important thing about Bauhaus is that taught student how to be artiest and sculptors also, organized education of the art.

  27. kkomaenge

    Joseph Beuys, use very interesting objects and his art helps a lot of other artists. He refuses a fixed idea of the art. He is a great artist. He always thought about the art in his life. His life is a kind of process of the artwork. His abstract Performing and environment art are very helpful for other artists.

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