On September 10, 1998, Dia Center for the Arts will present an exhibition of work from Dia's permanent collection by the leading German artist Joseph Beuys, "Drawings After the Codices Madrid of Leonardo da Vinci, and Sculpture." The exhibition will be installed on the first floor of Dia's galleries at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City, until June 13, 1999. Dia is open to the public Thursday through Sunday, 12 noon to 6 pm.
Joseph Beuys created the series of ninety-six drawings in Dia's exhibition in response to two sketchbooks by Leonardo da Vinci that were rediscovered in the 1960s. Assembled and printed in facsimile in an artist's book in 1975, the year after Leonardo's sketchbooks were published in facsimile, this is one of a very few groups of drawings assembled by Beuys into a large-scale work. As such, it is related to other "blocks" of the artist's work, including Arena - where would I have got if I had been intelligent!, which is also in Dia's permanent collection. This series of drawings elucidates Beuys's commitment to effect a marriage between art and science by referencing Leonardo's Codices Madrid, which for Beuys embodied "the unification of art and natural science."
Several other pieces by Beuys, including Aus Berlin (1979) and his Fond sculptures (also 1979), the latter not seen publicly since they appeared at Dia in 1988, will also be on view. For Beuys, the Fond sculptures, like giant batteries, represented containers and senders of energy, and as such held within them the promise of social and individual transformation.
This exhibition coincides with Dia's publication of Joseph Beuys: Drawings After the Codices Madrid of Leonardo da Vinci, the second in a series of scholarly books documenting Dia's collection. It features essays by prominent scholars including Ann Temkin, Cornelia Lauf, and Martin Kemp. An extensive appendix elucidates the relationship between this suite of drawings owned by Dia and those reproduced in the multiple.
Joseph Beuys was born in Kleve, Germany, on May 12, 1921, where he grew up. Trained at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, he taught there as a professor of sculpture from 1961 until his controversial dismissal in 1972. In 1953 the van der Grinten collection of Beuys's sculpture and drawing was first exhibited. In the early sixties he became involved with Fluxus, taking part in a number of concerts, as well as devising his own "actions," which soon became his principal aesthetic mode. In 1970, a large collection of his work, the Ströher Collection, which was formed under the artist's own aegis, was installed in the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, where it remains in the format he designed and is the single most important public collection of his work. Joseph Beuys died in Düsseldorf in 1986.
Support for this project has been provided by the Dia Art Council, the major annual support group of Dia Center for the Arts.
Dia Center for the Arts is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Established in 1974, the organization has become one of the largest in the United States dedicated to contemporary art and contemporary culture. In fulfilling this commitment, Dia sustains diverse programming in visual arts, poetry, education, and critical discourse and debate.
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