Felt: Fluxus, Joseph Beuys, and the Dalai Lama
Felt provides a nonlinear look at the engagement of the postwar avant-garde with Eastern spirituality, a context in which the German artist Joseph Beuys appears as an uneasy shaman. Centered on a highly publicized yet famously inconclusive 1982 meeting between Beuys and the Dalai Lama, arranged by the Dutch artist Louwrien Wijers, Chris Thompson explores the interconnections among Beuys, the Fluxus movement, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual practice.
Building from the resonance of felt, the fabric, in both Tibetan culture and in Beuys’s art, Thompson takes as his point of departure Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion in A Thousand Plateaus of felt as smooth space that is “in principle infinite, open, and unlimited in every direction,” its structure determined by chance as opposed to the planned, woven nature of most fabrics. Felt is thus seen as an alternative to the model of the network: felt’s anarchic form is not reducible to the regularity of the net, grid, or mesh, and the more it is pulled, tweaked, torn, and agitated, the greater its structural integrity.
Felt thus invents its methodology from the material that represents its object of inquiry and from this advances a reading of the avant-garde. At the same time, Thompson demonstrates that it is sometimes the failures of thought, the disappointing meetings, even the untimely deaths that open portals through which life flows into art and allows new conjunctions of life, art, and thought. Thompson explores both the well-known engagement of Fluxus artists with Eastern spirituality and the more elusive nature of Beuys’s own late interest in Tibetan culture, arriving at a sense of how such noncausal interactions—interhuman intrigue—create culture and shape contemporary art history.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
action Alison Knowles AmssE Amsterdam Art meets science Art-of-peace Biennale asked avant-garde Batchelor become Beuys’s Bronstein’s Brooklyn museum Buddha Cage’s called concept Conceptual Art critical cultural d’Armagnac death Dick higgins discussion Emmanuel Levinas Emmett Williams encounter engagement essay ethical Eurasia exhibition experience fabric felt Fluxus Fluxus artist Fluxus’s Gallery hannah higgins happened higgins’s holiness human ibid idea important interest interhuman intrigue intermedia interview John Cage Joseph Beuys Joyce Joyce’s Khan kind Lama sogyal Lama’s Levinas’s live Louwrien Wijers maciunas marcel Duchamp material means mongols newYork nomad notes notion one’s participants peace perhaps philosophy political practice produced question rinpoche robert Filliou science and spirituality silence sogyal rinpoche space spiral talk Teaching and Learning thing thought Thousand Plateaus Tibet Tibetan Buddhist tion told trans University Western Wijers’s word Writing as Sculpture Yoko ono York