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After great success in Argentina: Beuys and Beyond - Teaching as Art now in Mexico City


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After great success in Argentina
Beuys and Beyond - Teaching as Art now in Mexico City

During its sojourn in Buenos Aires, the exhibition "Beuys and Beyond" met with overwhelmingly positive response on the part of the public and the press. It will now make a guest appearance at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City. After "The Return of the Giants" (2003/2004) with German figurative painting and the photography show "More than Meets the Eye" (2006/2007), this is the third exhibition with works from the Deutsche Bank Collection to tour through Latin America.

Over 75,000 visitors in about six weeks filled the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, to see Beuys and Beyond - Teaching as Art. The exhibition, which presents works by Joseph Beuys and his students in dialogue with contemporary Argentinean art, proved to be a veritable blockbuster. Important local papers such as Clarín, La Nación, and Perfil dedicated extensive articles to the show. It's no wonder, because Beuys and Beyond not only shows one of the most fascinating chapters of West German art; it also forges new paths, juxtaposing works from the Deutsche Bank Collection with works of local artists of the respective host museum. For the current station of the exhibition, the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, Mario Rangel Faz (1956 - 2009) was chosen, who is considered to be one of the most influential Mexican artists of his generation. Rangel Faz was not only an exceptional draftsman, graphic artist, and teacher; he also belonged to two important artists' collectives.

The work of Jörg Immendorff demonstrates how important Joseph Beuys was for German art after 1945. During his time as a student at the Dusseldorf Art Academy, he already began painting portraits of his professor to explore his charismatic teacher's influence. Along with Immendorff and his often blatantly political works, Norbert Tadeusz also stands for the figurative tendencies among the Beuys students. Thus, a series of pencil sketches can be seen at the MUAC in which Tadeusz captures one of his professor's actions. From Imi Knoebel's and Blinky Palermo's reduced abstractions to the conceptual photographic works of Katharina Sieverding and Lothar Baumgarten-the works from the Deutsche Bank Collection show the entire artistic spectrum of the Beuys students.

For the art scenes in Germany and Mexico, the spirit of change that manifested itself during the student revolts of the late sixties were of the greatest importance. It was a matter of liberation from a traditional understanding of a work of art as material object; the inclusion of performance and action; and a resurgence of political art. Beuys coined the term "expanded concept of art" during this time. Rangel Faz also sought new possibilities in production and distribution. Thus, he participated in two influential artists' groups: GRUPO SUMA (1976-1988) and Atte. La Dirección (1981-1986), for whom ephemeral projects in public space played a central role. SUMA attracted attention chiefly through "Guerilla Art" in the streets of Mexico City; the group turned radically away from an art that was primarily a status symbol for the better situated. Their works arose collectively, on building facades or construction fences. Like today's Street Artists, SUMA used stencils and photocopies to address the political and social situation of their country. The logo they chose was an oval with the head of the Mexican eagle and the words GRUPO SUMA.

Atte. La Dirección continued in this path, for the most part with provocative performances and actions that they also put on in museums and galleries. In order to break with the established artistic forms of expression, they experimented with texts, videos, and sounds and used transitory "materials" such as fire, ice, or grass. As it did for Beuys, the social dimension of art played a decisive role for Rangel Faz and his colleagues. Both were equally concerned with uniting art and life.

Beuys and Beyond - Teaching as Art
Deutsche Bank Collection in Dialogue with Contemporary Latin American Art

8/22 - 11/3/2010
Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo
Mexico City, Mexico

1/28 - 4/24/2011
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO)
Monterrey, Mexico

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