Jörg Immendorff was one of several prominent artists of the past four decades who studied under Joseph Beuys at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. (Beuys’ monumental sculpture, Lightning with Stag in its Glare shares the gallery with this exhibition.) In these six paintings, Beuys is depicted numerous times, sometimes in full portrait mode, and sometime more iconographically through references to his signature big-brimmed hat, his works of art, his hunting vest, or silhouette.
The paintings also include many other historical figures, ranging from Immendorff himself (shown serving cocktails to Beuys, who in turn lights the cigar of the great mid-20th century artist-provocateur Marcel Duchamp), to Blinky Palermo (another Beuys student), Chairman Mao, Adolph Hitler and Angela Merkel. Decoding the paintings becomes an exercise in 20th century art history and politics.
This exhibition is the second in an occasional series of shows focused on Beuys and those influenced by his work and teaching (the first focused on paintings and sculpture by Anselm Kiefer). The exhibition series is organized in collaboration and with the generous support of the Hall Art Foundation. The Beuys sculpture is on extended loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.