Joseph Beuys, on coexistence and protection

Caption: Joseph Beuys, I love America and America loves me, 1974

The mission of 516 ARTS is to connect contemporary artists and diverse audiences. In these times of social distancing, we are sharing artwork and inspiration that can help us learn, feel, think, and process through this new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The performance, I Like America and America likes Me, was a work exploring ideas of taming, coexistence and sharing. Ultimately the artist and the coyote grew tolerant and understanding each other, starting a communication based on proximity.

In May 1974, German artist Joseph Beuys flew into New York City’s John F Kennedy International Airport and was immediately wrapped in felt and taken by ambulance to a room in West Broadway’s René Block Gallery. Beuys shared the next three days in the space with a coyote, a wild beast, a living symbol of America’s untamed spirit.