Joseph Beuys:

Pioneer of Radical Ecology

by David Adams


An approach to ecology worthy of the epithet "radical" is one that does not limit its concerns to ecological systems within the natural world. Radical ecology also sees these in connection with larger patterns of human life: social forms; economic theories, practices, and interests; political and legislative history and method; control of information and communications media; and, indeed, the underlying philosophies and teleologies of Western civilization. By this definition, the German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-86) was not only a radical ecologist, but also the pioneer investigator of the role of art in forging radical ecological paradigms for the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. Here I would like to sketch the general parameters of Beuys's complex relationship to ecology and discuss a few appropriate examples form his extensive artistic production.


Beuys was active politically as a forerunner and then cofounder and candidate of the German Green Party. In addition, he led a series of imaginative public political demonstrations for ecological causes, beginning with a successful effort to save a threatened forest tract in Düsseldorf in 1971.[1] But he also undertook searching explorations of how artistic creation can directly convey the existential attitudes of a more profound understanding of natural ecological relationships, and how an expanded conception of art can tackle even the social, economic, and political reorganization of Western society. He saw this as necessary to replace the current ecology-destroying tendencies embodied in consumerism, patriarchy, statism, and capitalist growth. It is likely that Beuys remains today the most radical of all artists concerned with new ecological paradigms.

Beuys recognized that the entrenched, exploitative attitudes toward nature characteristic of Western civilization were, in fact, fundamentally based on individual modes of thinking and self-imaging, as well as (more obviously) on an economy oriented toward unlimited material growth to secure profits for a wealthy minority at the expense of the common good. He summarized the external societal problem as "complicity between the power of money and the power of the state."[2] His solution for this was drawn from anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner's "threefold social order"; that is, he proposed to separate the workings of the economy, legislative politic, and culture, so that they operated as three independent spheres.[3]

However, much of his richly complex but enigmatic artwork was aimed at reaching more inward levels of human experience. No single language could tap the many levels of consciousness needed to perceive the totality of phenomena, and his continual experiments in artistic communication were directed at many degrees of comprehension. Behind the artworks were clear ideas and theoretical conceptions, but Beuys felt it to be more effective, whenever possible, to transform verbal dialogue into an "energy dialogue."[4] Much of his oeuvre attempted to convey forces and energies of the natural world, often grasped at a prelinguistic or presymbolic level, through his personally forged language of forms and substances. "All my actions," he stated, "are based upon concepts of basic human energies in the form of images."[5]  For Beuys the natural world, as well as the human psyche, were the loci of mysterious and meaningful interrelations, and he intended to transmit these through his art.

Beuys's own thinking on ecological matters and their relationship to art passed through a development of several stages. During his childhood in the Lower Rhine village of Kleve, he showed a keen interest, both scientific and romantic, in nature, assembling and displaying collections of specimens and later taking amore analytical interest in botany and zoology. His teenage desire to study natural science was redirected toward art after a disillusioning encounter with the discipline's narrow specialty of interest, represented by a zoology professor at the Reich University of Posen (now Poznan), which Beuys attended during breaks in his military training as a radio operator from 1940 to 1941.[6] This study was made possible through the largesse and encouragement of his military instructor, Heinz Sielmann, a former student of biology and zoology and maker of nature films. Their mutual explorations and discussions of natural phenomena continued for many years afterward, and Beuys later assisted Sielman on several of his nature films, expertly luring wild creatures to the camera by mimicking their cries. Through this relationship Beuys also became acquainted with the Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz and with other prominent biologists.[7]

During his artistic training at the State Academy of Art in Düsseldorf between 1947 and 1951, and until he gave up his master studio there in 1954, Beuys continued to maintain a small scientific laboratory in a corner of his work space. Many of his early artworks of the 1950s and 1960s dealt with creatures or forces of natural ecologies, especially animals. When in 1962 he began to associate his work with the Fluxus movement and began presenting his first Actions, his initial (unrealized) project, Earth Piano of 1962, seems to have been an image of human culture reconnecting with the reality of the earth itself.

During the 1970s Beuys led several ecological protest actions and projects, beginning with two events of 1971. Overcome Party Dictatorship Now, a deforestation protest, involved sweeping the forest floor and painting white crosses and rings on all trees slated to be felled (fig. 1); Bog Action was an appreciation of threatened wetlands along the Zuider Zee. This was followed by his one hundred days of public discussion at the 1972 Documenta 5 in Kassel, which gave expression to his vision of a union of movements: the environmental, peace, ethnic, women's, civil rights, and spiritual, and included many topics of ecological interest, such as nuclear energy and its alternatives, and urban decay. Beuys was an unsuccessful candidate for the German Bundestag in 1976 and for the European Parliament in 1979, under the auspices of the Green Party. As a social and political extension of his artwork, he founded a series of political activist organizations, which sometimes tackled ecological causes and issues: the German Student Party in 1967, the Organization for Direct Democracy through Referendum (People's Free Initiative) in 1971, the Free International University for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Resarch in 1974 (whose prospectus included an Ecology Institute), and the German Green Party in 1979. Already in the 1960s he was recycling paper and warning that landfills might be leaching contaminants into the groundwater.[8]

Beuys continued specific ecological projects in the 1980s, among them the Spüfield Altenwerder pilot project, planned for Hamburg in 1983 as a planting of trees and shrubs in the polluted Altenwerder flats, to help bind toxic substances in the soil and protect the groundwater; and 7000 Oaks, a massive tree-planting Action begun June 19, 1982, at Documenta 7 in Kassel, as an "ecological sign." [9] But already during the 1970s a fundamental shift had been taking place in his attitude toward ecological activism and change. In 1979 he described this: "I found it necessary to go on with a research enterprise and with a political movement related to every field of the society. Not only towards the ecological problems in democracy, but also to the freedom problem in creativity and then later in economics also; to change the whole understanding of capital."[10] This became an ongoing project, as Beuys acknowledged in a 1982 interview: "We must continue along the road of interrelating socio-ecologically all the forces present in our society until we perform an intellectual action which extends to the fields of culture, economy, and democratic rights."[11]

Beuys's changing understandings, both of art as a less object-oriented activity and of the solutions to ecological and social problems, were leading him to his new concept of "social sculpture." He came to believe "that a well-ordered idea of ecology and professionalism can stem only from art – in the sense of the sole, revolutionary force capable of transforming the earth, humanity, the social order, etc."[12] He began to speak of an "ecological Gesamtkunstwerk," to be created through the democratic participation of all citizens in reconstructing "a social organism as a work of art."[13] Clearly, this implied a radically broadened conception of art itself, one that Beuys saw as synonymous with creativity in general. He was following Steiner's argument that the true capital of economics was human creativity, a resource shared by all human beings.[14] From this arose Beuys's equation Art = Capital, although he did not intend it in the materialistic sense of today's investment-art market.  Indeed, Beuys was always uncomfortable with the marketing of his work as commodifiable objects.

The artist's exploration of the nature of creativity, of the origins of humanly created form, led him still further, and here he relied much on the philosophical writings of Steiner, especially The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.[15] "I cannot understand the idea of creativity," stated Beuys, "were it is not related to the self-conscious 'I' which stands in the field of inner freedom."[16] While the human being is not truly free in many aspects of life, nonetheless, he argued, echoing Steiner, "he is free in his thinking, and here is the point of origin of sculpture. For me, the information of the thought is already sculpture."[17]

To capsulate this overall development in Beuys's conceptions of art and of ecology, we may say that, while his understanding of ecological responsibility moved from scientific interest to public protest and alternative political organizations and then to the need to restructure society itself, based on philosophical analysis, his approach to art developed from traditional objects to installations and performances and then to the idea of "social sculpture," involving everyone as an artist. Thus, the two lines of development merged in the conception of the "ecological Gesamtkunstwerk," the social sculpture.

There was a historical and futurological aspect to Beuys's analysis as well. He preached that one of the causes of our society's disregard of natural ecological relationships was to be found in our characteristic attempts to understand them purely through the "dead," abstract, analytical thinking and narrowly specialized viewpoints of modern science (another prominent theme in Steiner's work).[18] In more ancient (presocratic) times, according to Beuys and Steiner, the scientific was contained within the artistic world view.[19] Then the invention of images wasn't "artwork," but a magic and religious activity giving artist and community a transcendental connection, as well as intimate knowledge of nature and the environment. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment solidified a shift from this "collective, original, inspirational culture" to a logical, analytical, and materialistic form of knowledge. Beuys claimed that this was also valuable and historically necessary for the development of a strong sense of individual human freedom and self-determined, conscious knowing. The action of the hare that digs into earth became for Beuys an analogy with this penetration of matter's laws through the activity of human thinking, which, he said, was thereby sharpened and transformed.[20]

But this was not the final goal for humanity. Now Beuys – still following Steiner – called for an additional step, leading to new concepts of both art and science, based on the achievement of an enlivened and conscious intuitive mode of thinking. This would represent a new kind of spiritual understanding, equivalent to the mythical connections of earlier ages. He felt that his artworks were only comprehensible to such an intuition and not to linear, logical thought. To think in accord with reality, he argued, both causal and acausal thinking were needed. In all fields of knowledge and life, traditionally opposed, polar elements needed to be reintegrated to lead to expanded concepts and outlooks.[21] For example, Beuys introduced, in connection with his art, the anthroposophical conception of space and counterspace.[22]

Beuys contended that the separated "outsider consciousness" characteristic of the modern scientific world view was one-sided and unbalanced.[23] There was, he said, a sense in which human interiority was also outside in the environment, a sense in which human consciousness and the outer world were interdependent.[24] "Environmental pollution advances parallel with a pollution of the world within us," wrote Beuys and the poet Heinrich Böll in their 1972 principles for the Free International University.[25] Development of a more living and vital human thinking was the internal reality corresponding to a longing for external living nature. Conversely, an enlivened and more holistic thinking would better appreciate and respect the outer life of nature. Thinking occurs not only in the mind, proposed Beuys, but also within external natural processes. Beuys even claimed that he had thoughts in his knees.[26] The sharp, clear thinking of limited materialistic and rationalistic thoughts, and the seemingly absolute Cartesian alienation of self from object that this thinking was based upon, were identified by Beuys as the root causes of our ecological crises. Human alienation was, in turn, inflicted on the entire natural environment.

He argued that the abstract intellect centered in the head needed to be balanced with the revitalizing forces of feeling from the heart and active will from the limbs – a threefold composition of psychological powers derived from Steiner.[27] In a drawing of 1966, Fat Ball: Mainstream Figure (on loan to the Wilhelm Lehmsbruck Museum, Duisburg, from a private collection, Berlin), Beuys used a drawn image of one of his most misunderstood sculptural mediums, fat, as an analogue for the warming influence of feeling and willing needed to harmonize the one-sidedness of abstract thinking. Rather than clay or plaster, Beuys chose fat as a modeling medium, he once explained, because it responded so directly to warmth an cold and thus, as a material, made a suitable representation of the spiritual warmth (as opposed to merely physical heat) that he, following Steiner, saw as a link between visible and invisible levels of reality.[28] In addition, Beuys admired fat's easy transition between a melted, unformed, chaotic state and a cooled, specific form. He saw this as another analogue to the qualitative difference between cool, formed thinking and the raw, as yet unformed energy of will power.

Through much of his artwork Beuys tried to give back to the spectator something of a lost sense for the "primitive wisdom of being," for the hidden connections between human life and that of natural ecologies and their energies.[29] A transformed and enlivened thinking would be revolutionary in effect, he felt, not only with regard to human beings' own psychological heatlh and their relationship to nature, but also with regard to social, economic, and cultural forms. "That is a necessity for any evolutionary progress," he stated. "Transformation of the self must first take place in the potential of thought and mind. After this deep-rooted change, evolution can take place."[30] The flood of individual and social creativity such a change would release he identified with art itself: "Only from art can a new concept of economics be formed, in terms of human needs not in the sense of waste and consumption."[31]

Beuys tried by a variety of means to use an expanded (or "totalized") approach to art to inform people in a revolutionary way about their psychological and spiritual potentials: objects, installations, multiples, events, Actions (performances), drawings, pubic dialogues, chalkboard diagrams, and interviews (fig. 2). Although some of these approaches relied heavily on language to communicate ideas directly, Beuys felt that his provocative objects, installations, and Actions worked more powerful personal and political effects on people than could a direct revelation in words of the ideas behind them. Probably referring to his artistic emphasis on the qualities of materials, he gave an image of his method in an early power: "inductive pharmacy/metamorphoses/thoughts."[32] Thus, he also argued that politics itself must become art to produce really effective change. In later years he grew more pessimistic about the possibility of social change through typical political means (such as the Green Party) and placed even more emphasis on the self-determination of the individual ego as the only true social reshaping force.[33]

Similarly disenchanted with the narrow and elite "art-world ghetto," Beuys saw the end of modernism as a transition to an expanded "social art" or "social sculpture," in which everyone would participate creatively to resculpt the social body.[34] "Only a conception of art revolutionized to this degree can turn it into a politically productive force, coursing through each person and shaping history," he proclaimed.[35] "The socio-ecological approach begins with 'Everyone is an Artist,'" he stated on another occasion, "with a concept of freedom and creativity involving social totality, and establishes for the first time socio-ecological work whereby environmental damage is eliminated from the roots."[36]

In his own artwork Beuys saw the animal kingdom as an ally for the evolutionary process of broadening and deepening human awareness in these ways. The horse, stag, elk, coyote, fox, swan, goat, bee, hare, and moose all appeared in his drawings, performances, and sculptures, representing the primitive, prelinguistic forces found in the connected interrelationships of natural ecologies undisturbed by civilization. "With these formulations from the world of animals," he said, "I mean something about the connected meanings in nature, in the environment, the connected meanings of the forms of life which live with man and which we know as little as we know ourselves."[37] At the same time Beuys felt that the essential being of animals gave access to forgotten spiritual energies now needed again by human society. In The Chief – Fluxus Song, an Action of 1964, he emitted mimicked stag cries while rolled up for eight hours in a length of felt made of hare fur, with two dead hares at each end of the roll. The and other such works were attempts to conjure the energies of other life forms into the Action. As he put it, he tried to switch off the semantics of his own species in order to assist the kind of transformation of inner self necessary for any outward social and environmental change.[38] As part of the human responsibility toward other living things, Beuys said, he tried to speak for the animals who could not speak for themselves, and even included all animals in the German Student Party he founded in 1967.[39] "The sounds I make are taken consciously from animals," he explained. "I see it as a way of coming into contact with other forms of existence, beyond the human one. It's a way of going beyond our restricted understanding to expand the scale of producers of energy among co-operators in other species, all of whom have different abilities."[40]

The hare, which literally digs into matter ("incarnation"), represented the sharpened materialistic thinking of science that now needed to be informed by living intuitive thinking. This was in turn symbolized by the organic substance of honey and the gold of spiritual transformation that covered Beuys's head as he "explained his pictures to a dead hare" in a famous 1965 Action. When he spoke to the dead hare, he spoke to an externalized part of himself (representative of all human beings), re-enlivening and reintegrating the dead thing (abstract thinking) that now existed outside himself as "object."[41] At the same time, even a dead hare seemed to Beuys to have preserved more powers of intuition than some stubbornly rational human beings.  "The idea of explaining to an animal conveys a sense of secrecy of the world and of existence that appeals to the imagination," he remarked.[42] The source of honey, the beehive, was an embodiment of the social warmth and inclusive cooperative consciousness needed for nonhierarchical harmony between human beings and with the rest of the natural world. The stag, with blood flowing through its branching antlers, was a kind of image of an inner power of feeling, of a head enlivened with spiritual insight and intuition through the vitality of the blood circulating from the heart through the head and even outside the head.[43] Beuys's use of felt, beeswax, gelatin, and fat all relate at one level to these ecological energy references and also expand the meaning to even more fundamental "sculptural" forces and formative energies of the world. Sometimes plants, too, were drawn into the service of this ecological vision. While working on what is probably still the world's largest ecological sculpture, 7000 Oaks, Beuys stated his feeling that trees today are far more intelligent than people. In the wind that blows their leaves he sensed the essence of suffering human beings, as trees, too, are sufferers.[44]

Beuys also anticipated something of ecofeminism in several artworks and projects. Ecofeminism has been defined as the position that "there are important connections – historical, experiential, symbolic, theoretical – between the domination of women and the domination of nature."[45] Beuys related the masculine element to overintellectualized concentration on abstract powers of the head and to the warlike spirit of the god Mars. It was the one-sided domination of the world by this hard, cold, male tendency that had caused much of the suffering of humanity and nature, he stated. He expressed the anguish of this suffering in the painfully distorted face of a male bust emerging from the dragon's mouth of a seven-meter-long, cast-iron gun barrel, in his autobiographical installation Tram Stop at the 1976 Venice Biennale. In his written sketch Play 17 of 1963, thirty-four animals in a room (which I view as Beuys's representatives of wild, "feminine nature) disappear as soon as "West Man" enters and "East Man" is simultaneously projected on the wall.[46] Even his famous "fat corners" and Fat Chair, 1964, can be seen as images of how modern, male-dominated civilization has mechanistically imposed the abstract cube and right angle on the naturally irregular and warmly flexible qualities of the feminine (fig. 3).

By contrast, Beuys stressed, humanity now needed a reemphasis on the feminine strengths of sensitivity, receptivity, warmth, creativity, spirituality, and openness to the future.[47] Even his own emblem (if not alter ego) the hare, was associated by Beuys with birth, women, menstruation, and fertility.[48] In his watercolor Genghis Kahn's Daughter Riding on an Elk, 1958, and drawing Girl Astronaut, 1957,[49] he had already expressed the role he hoped for feminine qualities in the future evolution of humanity. In the latter, he placed a woman "astronaut" in the posture of the Graubelle Man, an anthropological specimen of early humanity that he had previously used to represent the potential spiritual evolution of humankind. He stressed the region of her heart and indicated receptivity to spiritual influences through "open fontanel stars" on her head. It was his early vision of "a special kind of future, and the particular abilities of the femlae in he era of men on the moon."[50] The title of another early work, his small bronze sculpture Animal Woman of 1949, made the ecofeminist understanding more explicit.

Many of Beuys's works have as a theme the reintegration, or rebalancing, of masculine and feminine values ­– often represented by iron and copper, respectively, since the male body contains a slightly larger quantity of iron than the female body, while the latter has more copper. Pt Co Fe of 1948-72 (collection W. Feelisch, Remscheid), the traveling installation Arena of 1970-72, Hearth I of 1974 (expanded 1978), and Fond IV/4 of 1979 (fig. 4) all express this theme. His teakwood sculpture Virgin of 1961 (fig. 5) represents one attempt to express the rebalancing he felt was needed, juxtaposing a nine-sectioned teak figure of a virgin woman on the floor with a square frame hung above her head, the frame representing "the cold, hard, crystallized, burnt-out clinker that I would call the male intellect, the cause of much of our suffering."[51] Beuys's various political campaigns also promoted such measures as equal rights for both sexes, wages for housewives, and reservation of 50 percent of the seats in the German Bundestag for women.[52]

The unique props or art objects used in Beuys's Actions frequently had an ecological reference. In his 1964 Action 24 hours . . . and in us . . . under us . . . landunder, performed at the Galerie Parnass in Wuppertal, he used a two-handled spade and invited visitors and spectators to try to dig furrows with this unusual object before and after the Action (fig. 6). The two-handled spade suggested for Beuys the "compound action for people working the earth together."[53] The strange tool, with its heart-shaped blades, was also an image of the need to penetrate the earth with heartfelt love and warmth. During the Action Beuys held the spade at heart level, sometimes raising it above his head and occasionally ramming it into the floor. "The relationship to agriculture is evident," he said, "as are the warmth and love needed for a regeneration of the earth."[54]

In some Actions Beuys focused on exposing "trauma points" in modern materialistic social life and then attempting to effect a symbolic healing. In is famous Coyote of 1974 he tackled white America's disrespect and lack of appreciation for both the Native American peoples and wild nature in the form of the coyote, an Indian image of cosmic spiritual-physical transformation (fig. 7). "The spirit of the coyote is so mighty," announced the artist,  "that the human being cannot understand what it is, or what it can do for humankind in the future."[55] During a week of nights and days spent together with a coyote in the René Block Gallery in New York, Beuys tried to make contact with this essential spirit of the coyote and performed a cyclic sequence of actions, involving a number of representative materials and props: his felt and the coyote's straw (which were exchanged many times); a flashlight, as an image of energy; a triangle chime, which he struck on occasion, as "an impulse of consciousness: for the coyote; contrasting recorded sounds of a confused roar of a turbine, to represent a more chaotic will energy, as well as human civilization's domination technology; brown gloves, to represent the freedom and flexibility of the human hand, in contrast to the specialization of animal extremities; and a daily stack of Wall Street Journals, to represent "the tyranny exerted by money and power" and "the diminished and destructive interpretation of money and economics, an inorganic fixation based solely on the production of physical goods."[56] In the Action it could be said that the coyote reclaimed the objects representing the civilized world.[57] In a later installation, created at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, in 1979, he recapitulated some of these events, but without the live animal (fig. 8).

In Tallow, 1977, Beuys chose a "sick" spot in the urban environment of Münster, the 'wound" of an ugly corner of a rectilinear building, created through the abstract thinking of modern city planning and architectural design. He then cast, in a huge block composed of twenty tons of animal fat, the "negative" of this wedge-shaped space under an access ramp to a pedestrian underpass. Through the qualities of fat, he intended to bring a new warmth to the cold one-sidedness of the underpass, and then to effect a healing by reintegrating the warm and the cold poles. Tisdale has called Beuys's effort "an extraordinary example of absurd artistic license put to didactic and provocative use, a critique of the soullessness of our environment transformed into a survival battery of warm energy: a reserve of fat."[58]

Many other artworks included similar attempts to affect what Beuys saw as the psychological and spiritual roots of our destruction of the natural world, as well as of healthier social relationships. It is not easy to judge the efficacy of Beuys's faith that spectators would grasp at some level his unusual uses of unusual materials, and his references to the powers of animals and to other invisible energies of the natural world. Today, his creations still seem to speak to viewers on several levels. However, one seldom finds his work generating that conscious dialogue regarding a social reform into three independent spheres, maintaining a free cultural and educational life, a democratic equality of rights, and a new cooperative economics. This would surely be disappointing to the man who felt that only out of such participatory dialogue of reform could the worldwide ecological crisis be healed, and who fervently hopes his artwork would become a "humus of concepts and ideas, as the basis for a living form."[59]


(Originally published in Art Journal Summer 1992)

[1] This Action of December 1971 was titled Overcome Party Dictatorship Now and took place in the Grafenberger Wald, a wooded area threatened by the proposed expansion of the Rochus Club tennis courts.

[2] Carin Kuoni, comp., Energy Plan for the Western Man: Joseph Beuys in America, Writings by and Interviews with the Artist (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1990), p. 107.

[3] See Rudolf Steiner, The Renewal of the Social Organism (1919-20), trans. E. Bowen-Wedgewood and Ruth Mariott, rev. Frederick Amrine (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1985); idem, The Social Future, six lectured delivered October 14-30, 1919, in Zurich, trans. Henry B. Monges, 3rd. ed. (spring Valley, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1972); and Joseph Beuys, Appeal, trans. R.C. Hay and B. Kleer of an article in the Frankfurter Rundschau, December 23, 1978 (Düsseldorf: Free International University, 1979). Another translation of Appeal appears in Caroline Tisdale, Joseph Beuys (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1979), pp. 283-84.

[4] This is the wording in Tisdale, Beuys, pp. 228 and 235.

[5] Götz Adriani, Winfried Konnertz, and Karin Thomas, Joseph Beuys: Life and Works, trans. Patricia Lech (Woodbury, N.Y.: Barron's Educational Series, 1979), p. 257.

[6] Heiner Stachelhaus, Joseph Beuys, trans. David Britt (New York: Abbeville Press, 1991), p. 19; and Tisdale, Beuys, p. 18.

[7] Stachelhaus, Beuys, p. 27.

[8] Kuoni, Energy Plan, p. 98.

[9] Stachelhaus, Beuys, p. 146.

[10] Kuoni, Energy Plan, p. 43.

[11] Ibid., p. 95.

[12] Ibid., p. 99.

[13] Ibid., p. 21; and Johannes Stüttgen, Zeitstau: Im Kraftfeld des erweiterten Kunstbegriffs von Joseph Beuys (Stuttgart: Urachhaus, 1988), p. 150.

[14] See Rudolf Steiner, World Economy (14 lectures delivered July 24-August 6, 1922, in Dornach, Switzerland), tans. A. O. Barfield and T. Gordon-Jones, 3rd. ed. (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), pp. 32, 50-56, 61; and Folkert Wilken, The Liberation of Capital, trans. David Green (London: George Allen & Unvwin, 1982).

[15] Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (1894, rev. 1918), trans. William Lindeman (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1986); or earlier translation by Michael Wilson titled The Philosophy of Freedom (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1964).

[16] Kuoni, Energy Plan, p. 54.

[17] Ibid., p. 91.

[18] While many of Beuys's artworks present this picture of a dead scientific thinking, I would cite the two dissection tables from a pathology lab used in Show Your Wound, an installation in Munich of 1976, and the rifle aimed at the painted bird marked Denken (think) in I Want to See My Mountains, an installation first shown in Eindhoven, Holland, in 1971. For Steiner's presentation of the same theme, see Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science (1883-87), trans. William Lindeman (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Mercury Press, 1988); idem., The Riddles of Philosophy (1914), trans. Fritz C. A. Koelln (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1973); and idem., The Boundaries of Natural Science (8 lectures delivered September 27-October 3, 1920, in Dornach), trans. Frederick Amrine and Konrad Oberhuber (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Anthroposophic Press, 1983).

[19] See Adriani, et al., Beuys, p. 66-67; and Rudolf Steiner, he Arts and Their Mission (8 lectures delivered May 27-June 9, 1923, in Dornach and Oslo), trans. Lisa D. Monges and Virginia Moore (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Anthroposophica Press, 1964).

[20] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 101.

[21] See Adriani, et al., Beuys, pp. 72 and 144-45; and Tisdale, Beuys, pp. 92 and 110.

[22] See Adriani, et al., Beuys, pp. 129 and 144; Tisdale, Beuys, p. 110; George Adams, Physical and Ethereal Spaces (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1965); George Adams and Olive Whicher, The Plant between Sun and Earth and the Science of Physical and Ethereal Spaces, 2nd ed. (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1980), especially pp. 82-85; and Ernst Lehrs, Man or Matter, 3rd ed. (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), especially pp. 202-17.

[23] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 80.

[24] Max Reithman, "Language, Image and the Present in Beuys" in Punt de confluència: Joseph Beuys, Düsseldorf 1962-1987, exhibit catalog (Barcelona: Fundació Caixa de Pensions, 1988), p. 176.

[25] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 280.

[26] Ibid., p. 83.

[27] See Rudolf Steiner, The Case for Anthroposophy, trans. Owen Barfield (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), pp. 69-83 (partial translation of Von Seellenrätseln, Berlin, 1917).

[28] See Rudolf Steiner, Warmth Course (The Theory of Heat) (14 lectures delivered March 1-14, 1920, in Stuttgart), trans. unknown (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Mercury Press, 1980); Lehrs, Man or Matter, pp. 391-92; and Ernst Marti, The Four Ethers: Contributions to Rudolf Steiner's Science of the Ethers: Elements – Ethers – Formative Forces, trans. Eva Lauterbach and James Langbecker (Roselle, Illinois: Schaumburg Publications, 1984).

[29] Adriani, et al., Beuys, p. 147.

[30] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 95.

[31] Jörg Schelmann and Bernd Klöser, eds., Joseph Beuys: Multiples: Catalogue Raisonné Multiples and Prints 1965-1980, trans. Caroline Tisdale, 5th ed. (New York: New York University Press, 1980), Part II (interview of June 1977).

[32] Stachelhaus, Joseph Beuys, p. 40.

[33] In Memoriam Joseph Beuys: Obituaries, Essays, Speeches, trans. Timothy Nevill (Bonn: Inter Nationes, 1986), p. 42.

[34] See Adriani et al., Beuys, pp. 12, 21, 53; and Tisdale, Beuys, pp. 268-69.

[35] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 268.

[36] In Memoriam, p. 57.

[37] Schellmann and Klüser, Multiples, Part II.

[38] Adriani, et al., Beuys, p. 95.

[39] Kuoni, Energy Plan, p. 82.

[40] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 95.

[41] Reithmann, "Language," p. 176.

[42] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 105.

[43] Ibid., pp. 34, 58, and 101.

[44] Stachelhaus, Joseph Beuys, . 148.

[45] Karen Warren, "The Promise and Power of Ecofeminism," Environmental Ethics 17 (Summer 1990): 125-146. For further information on ecofeminism, see Judith Plant, ed., Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism (Santa Cruz: New Society Publishers, 1991); Irene Diamond and Gloria Feman Orenstein, Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1990); Ynestra King, Ecofeminism: The Reenchantment of Nature (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991); Karen Warren, ed., Ecological Feminism, special issue of Hypatia 6 (1991); and Feminism, Ecology, and the Future of the Humanities, special issue of Studies in the Humanities 15 (1988).

[46] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 89.

[47] See Beuys's comments in ibid., p. 50.

[48] Stachelhaus, Joseph Beuys, p. 60; and Tisdale, Beuys, p. 101.

[49] On loan to the Wilhelm Lembruck Museum, Duisburg, from a private collection, Berlin.

[50] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 36.

[51] Ibid., pp. 50 and 68.

[52] Stachelhaus, Joseph Beuys, pp. 42 and 110.

[53] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 84.

[54] Ibid., p. 84.

[55] Kuoni, Energy Plan, p. 142.

[56] Ibid., pp. 142-43.

[57] Tisdale, Beuys, p. 228.

[58] Ibid., p. 253.

[59] In Memoriam, p. 37.