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A Social Organism as a Work of Art

Posted on by Social Muscle Club

In 1973, Beuys wrote:

“Only on condition of a radical widening of definitions will it be possible for art and activities related to art [to] provide evidence that art is now the only evolutionary-revolutionary power. Only art is capable of dismantling the repressive effects of a senile social system that continues to totter along the deathline: to dismantle in order to build ‘A SOCIAL ORGANISM AS A WORK OF ART’… EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST who – from his state of freedom – the position of freedom that he experiences at first-hand – learns to determine the other positions of the TOTAL ART WORK OF THE FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER.” 

-- Beuys statement dated 1973, first published in English in Caroline Tisdall: Art into Society, Society into Art (ICA, London, 1974), p.48. Capitals in original.