Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys: Arena--where would I have got if I had been intelligent!, 1970-1972

January 23, 1992 - April 4, 1993




Press Release


January 23, 1992-January 1993

Jan 05, 1992

Dia Center for the Arts will install a single large-scale work by Joseph Beuys entitled Arena (where I would have got if I had been intelligent), 1970-72, from the permanent collection, opening to the public on January 23,1992 at Dia Center for the Arts, 548 West 22nd Street. Dia will close for the summer season on June 21,1992. The exhibition will continue when Dia reopens in September 1992 and remain on view until January 1993. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12 noon to 6 pm.

This vast work, which includes 100 framed aluminum and glass panels each approximately 55 x 32 inches, is among the most ambitious of Beuys' career and is in many ways autobiographical. An assembly of 264 photographs, the panels in part document Beuys' life including key "actions," concerts, sculptures, objects, and more personal events. The installation incorporates stacks of wax blocks, copper and iron plates, and an oil can-all artifacts used in Beuys' action Vitex Agnus Castus, which was performed at the time of the first installafion of Arena at Lucio A,melio's "Modem Art Agency" in Naples in 1972.

As the title indicates, this work was intended to be seen in an "arena"-like environment. The original configuration for Arena was derived from the Pantheon; its images of the past represent the relics of a struggle in the "arena" of life. This will be the first time the work has been shown in its entirety since its installation in the international exhibition "Contemporanea" held in Rome in 1973.

Joseph Beuys is widely regarded as the most important German artist of the postwar era. He was bom in 1921 in the small German town of Kleve, and was trained at the Kunstakademie Dtisseldorf where he was appointed professor in 1961. Beginning in the 1960s his work was exhibited widely in Europe and, later, elsewhere. Several comprehensive exhibitions of his art have been held since his first major retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1979. Beuys died on January 21,1986 in Düsseldorf.

Major funding for this project has been received from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, Washington, D. C., with additional funding from the Dia Art Council, the major annual support group of Dia Center for the Arts. Support for the l99l-92 exhibitions program has also been provided through a generous grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts,Inc.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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