Beuys was indebted to the German Romantic tradition reaching back to individuals such as Goethe, Schiller and Novalis and later, Steiner.
Friedrich Schlegel wrote: “The Romantic imperative demands that all nature and science should become art, and art should become nature and science.”
Beuys responds: “every person is an artist”

The Joseph Beuys Cafe will investigate connections within these themes, including Rudolf Steiner’s legacy which has emerged as significant in the life and art of Joseph Beuys, whose library held approximately 100 books written by Steiner, many heavily annotated in the margins.

Observations on Beuys.

“Joseph Beuys was one of the most important artists of the twentieth century.”
Sean Rainbird, Curator, Tate Modern


“Joseph Beuys was the most significant artistic innovator of the twentieth century. His extended concept of art and his Social Sculpture Theory contain the seeds needed for addressing the root problems of our global society today.”
Otto Scharmer, MIT Sloan School of Management


“His oeuvre is trailblazing for understanding the world today and in the future.”
Jean-Christophe Ammann, Swiss art historian and curator


“I am very saddened by the premature death of my friend, the great artist Joseph Beuys. He gave so much to enrich the imagery of art and beyond, he leaves so much to yet unearth in his work. It has only begun its captivating and potent hold on our minds. People will be discussing new beauty in Beuys as long as there are people.”
Andy Warhol 30.1.1986 New York

Nature of Beuys’ thinking.

“We must be able to think in colours, in forms, just as one can think in concepts, in ideas.” Rudolf Steiner


“If concepts alone had value, then we would need no colours, no images, no drawings, no imagination, sculptures, sounds, music, dance, theatre, nothing at all! Everything would be able to be verbalised accurately by means of concepts. Concepts are structures that are also important. But if they exist in a one-sided way, they are clearly the absolute death of culture…After six months, if not nourished by the imagination, which is to say, by gothic portals, by cathedrals, by the symphonies of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, by the pictures of Rembrandt, and so on, concepts would be like corpses. Even the rational concepts of physics basically only come to life through imagination, because the imagination goes much deeper into the evolutionary root of things and delivers life, so to speak, to language.”
Joseph Beuys


“The more we regard ourselves as complex thought machines the less we are able to understand the nature of thought. Thinking is more than information and an input-output process. It is an imaginative act. We can only become free thinking agents of change if we engage in the world with imagination in order to rethink the conditions for the possibility of change.”
Wolfgang Zumdick


For me the formation of the thought is already sculpture. The thought is sculpture. Joseph Beuys “It is not the brain that thinks, rather it is the thinking that makes use of the brain.”
Joseph Beuys


“In essence, thinking is certainly not a brain-process, but without the support of the brain it could not take its earthly course.”
Rudolf Steiner

Along with Goethe, Rudolf Steiner and Joseph Beuys called for humanity to develop new organs of perception.

‘Every process in nature, rightly observed, awakens in us a new organ of perception.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“Here logic goes further, and organs of intuition, inspiration and imagination are necessary for this, otherwise you can’t experience such things.”
Joseph Beuys


“The capacities by which we can gain insight into higher worlds lie dormant within each one of us.”
Rudolf Steiner

Beuys’ theory of sculpture proposed that art and life are actively balanced between the polarities of chaos and form and that it is the heart that mediates these polarities.

“In a work of art, chaos must shimmer through the veil of order.”


“What actually drives me to act? In the space between volition and thought, the heart acts, and love…is the only motive. “
Joseph Beuys