This autumn, Leeds Art Gallery re-opens to the public following a period of closure to enable extensive re-glazing of the original Victorian roof and a period of refurbishment. The opening programme includes the legendary artist Joseph Beuys, and major recent acquisitions in film, painting and sculpture.
Joseph Beuys [born in Krefeld in 1921, died in Düsseldorf in 1986] was one of the twentieth century’s most important and revolutionary cultural figures. This exhibition marks an important return to the city by the artist, who last exhibited in Leeds with the exhibition Joseph Beuys: Drawings in 1983. The city later acquired one of Joseph Beuys’s oak trees and accompanying basalt stone from his 7000 Oaks project as part of artstranspennine98, and this has been present on Victoria Gardens outside the Henry Moore Institute since 1998.
This ARTIST ROOMS exhibition introduces his iconic persona, sculptural language and ‘constellations of ideas’ to a new generation. Joseph Beuys changed the look and vocabulary of sculpture forever, and helped put German art back on the map after World War II. Adopting the roles of political and social activist and educator, Beuys believed in the healing power and the social function of art. He saw creativity as central to all aspects of human existence — declaring that ‘everyone is an artist’. He believed that art should be a kind of social sculpture with the power to shape the world.
The ARTIST ROOMS collection of modern and contemporary art is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the public. It was established in 2008 through The d’Offay Donation with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, and the Scottish and British Governments.