Hidden inside this object are bicycle pumps and fat, one of Beuys’s signature materials. During an “action,” as he called his performances, he piped fat through the bicycle pumps, then encased the pumps inside this iron structure shaped like a halved cross, and finally sealed it shut using a blow torch, creating a relic of the event. Beuys worked in a variety of mediums, including sculpture, installation, drawings, prints, and multiples. As a teacher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 1963 to 1972, Beuys became known for his unconventional, politically minded teaching approach, inspiring a younger generation of artists to challenge traditional art-making practices.
Gallery label from Studio Visit: Selected Gifts from Agnes Gund, 2018