Joseph Beuys - I Like America and America Likes Me (1974)
“A master of compelling performance pieces, Beuys flew to New York, picked up by an ambulance, and, swathed in felt, was transported to a room in the Rene Block Gallery. The room was also occupied by a wild coyote, and for a period of 8 hours a day for the next three days, Beuys spent his time with the coyote in the small room, with little more than a felt blanket and a pile of straw.
While in the room, the artist engaged in symbolist gestures, such as striking a triangle and tossing his gloves to the coyote.
At the end of the three days, the coyote, who had become quite tolerant of Beuys, allowed a hug from the artist, who was transported back to the airport via ambulance. He never set foot on outside American soil nor saw anything of America other than the coyote and the inside of the gallery.”
I like America and America likes Me (May 23 - 25 1974)
i love america and america loves me - part 4 (via marc séguin | www.marcseguin.com)
i love america and america loves me - part 2 by marc séguin (oil & coyote on canvas) 2008 (via marc séguin)
also now i get this piece a whole lot more. séguin lives on a farm in upstate new york and uses coyotes he finds killed by vehicles on the side of highway.
‘I Like America and America Likes Me 1974, Joseph Beuys
Beuys’s most famous Action took place in May 1974, when he spent three days in a room with a coyote. After flying into New York, he was swathed in felt and loaded into an ambulance, then driven to the gallery where the Action took place, without having once touched American soil. As Beuys later explained: ‘I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote.’ The title of the work is filled with irony. Beuys opposed American military actions in Vietnam, and his work as an artist was a challenge to the hegemony of American art.
Beuys’s felt blankets, walking stick and gloves became sculptural props throughout the Action. In addition, fifty new copies of the Wall Street Journal were introduced each day, which the coyote acknowledged by urinating on them. Beuys regularly performed the same series of actions with his eyes continuously fixed on the coyote. At other times he would rest or gather the felt around him to suggest the figure of a shepherd with his crook. The coyote’s behaviour shifted throughout the three days, becoming cautious, detached, aggressive and sometimes companionable. At the end of the Action, Beuys was again wrapped in felt and returned to the airport.
For Native Americans, the coyote had been a powerful god, with the power to move between the physical and the spiritual world. After the coming of European settlers, it was seen merely as a pest, to be exterminated. Beuys saw the debasement of the coyote as a symbol of the damage done by white men to the American continent and its native cultures. His action was an attempt to heal some of those wounds. ‘You could say that a reckoning has to be made with the coyote, and only then can this trauma be lifted’, he said.’
HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS PIECE. it is relevant to so many of my interests.