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Would Beuys have auditioned for “American Idol”?

Or the Idol counterpart in his home country, Deutschland sucht den Superstar? (Love that title!) The shaman/sham/most brilliant artist of all time (to paraphrase an Art News profile from 1980), did take risks with his “aktions,” most famously in cohabitating with a coyote in a gallery (see documentation in Walker exhibition) – but I just […]

Beuys goes "Bananas"

Beuys goes "Bananas"

Or the Idol counterpart in his home country, Deutschland sucht den Superstar? (Love that title!) The shaman/sham/most brilliant artist of all time (to paraphrase an Art News profile from 1980), did take risks with his “aktions,” most famously in cohabitating with a coyote in a gallery (see documentation in Walker exhibition) – but I just learned that he also made a go of it as a pop singer. Artforum.com (via YouTube) has a video of Beuys making himself vulnerable before mainstream TV viewers, performing a protest song called “Sonne Statt Reagan” in 1982 on the German show Bananas, which also hosted acts like Depeche Mode. Artforum’s video section has a lot of other good stuff, including David Byrne talking with Jeff Koons – in 1975, Matthew Barney’s 2003 Regis Dialogue at the Walker, and an interview with Mary Heilmann in which the artist talks about “keeping the bourgeoisie happy,” among other things.

  • Lesa says:

    Haha, good question! I actually learned about Joseph Beuys in The Face, the now defunct British music-and-style magazine. The pop music scene then was inextricably linked with the songs of bands like The Style Council, Scritti Politti, Japan referenced political issues, art and literature. So no surprise that he’d appear in a German variety show. Imagine seeing Matthew Barney in Blender or on the VMA awards. Not gonna happen.