Joseph Beuys -
New York Subway Poster
German, 1921 - 1986
New York Subway Poster, 1983
Lithograph and screenprint, 11 x 27.5 inches
Printer's Proof (from and edition of 120)
Gift of Judy and J.D. Williamson II (BBA '67, MBA'68)
Although renowned for his work as a performance artist, Joseph Beuys also created an important body of work on paper, including prints. His work was grounded in concepts of humanism, and social philosophy. He wished in his art to rehumanize art and life by narrowing the gap between the two.
New York Subway Poster takes as its format - in shape, layout, and design - the horizontal placard that is placed above the windows in New York subway cars. Thus joining the work of art to commercial advertising, Beuys further connects art and life by associating the world of the imagination and corporate enterprise - two realms often at odds with each other from the point-of-view of the artist. There is, of course, no real reason that they should be, as Beuys suggests. The background for the artist's equating of creativity and capital is a blackboard with chalk scribbling that suggests both the strategic planning of business and the preliminary sketching of the artist. Creativity can also be construed as a certain form of capital or wealth for the spirit. And, the business world can solve its problems through a creative use of the mind.