36 years ago in May 1974, Beuys spent three days in a gallery in New York with a coyote.
After arriving at the airport he was swathed in felt and loaded into an ambulance, and driven directly to the Rene Block Gallery. Beuys spent the next few days with the coyote - its behaviour shifting from cautious to aggressive, indifferent to companionable reacting to Beuys's shepherd like actions, and the fifty new copies of the Wall Street Journal delivered each day. At the end of the three days, Beuys was again wrapped in felt and returned to the airport without having once touched American soil.
The work 'I like America and America likes me' connects together some of the vital strands of Beuys's practice; performance, political debate and his trademark use of felt and animals (often in the form of animal fat).
Beuys is said to have seen the coyote as a symbol of native Americans and the debasement of the coyote as symbolic both of the damage done by white men to the American continent and its native cultures, and on the Vietnamese people during Vietnam war - which eventually ended a year after the action took place on April 30, 1975.
The exhibition of 'I like America, and America likes me' at Trade Gallery provides a rare opportunity to see the documentation of Beuys's most famous action in isolation. It will also provide a chance to engage and reconsider the importance of the artwork in relation to the current social, political and artistic climate - and that of the work of contemporary artists in the British Art Show and Sideshow which the exhibition at Trade co-insides with.
Private View - 22.10.2010 - from 11pm (Special late opening to coincide with the launch of the British Art Show 7 and Sideshow in Nottingham)
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