Joseph Beuys: Antecedents, coincidences and influences

An exhibition that pays tribute to one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century 100 years after his birth.

November 25th, 2021 to May 15th, 2022

The exhibition includes all the works by German artist Joseph Beuys (Krefeld, 1921 – Düsseldorf, 1986) that Helga de Alvear has been able to assemble until this day, as well as other pieces belonging to the collection by artists who were his friends, disciples or people who played a significant role in his intellectual development.

With no comparative intention, the title repeats one of a famous exhibition dedicated to Goya that was curated by Professor Lafuente Ferrari in Madrid in 1947, substituting the name of the painter from Fuendetodos with that of Beuys. This title comprehends three main aspects we aim to discuss and serves as a commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the artist’s birth: his period of instruction and his first artistic attempts, his extensive teaching career and lastly, his many disciples, a generation of artists who changed the course of German and international artistic creation in the latter half of the 20th century.

Beuys was many things: shaman, nomad, leader, spiritualist, politician, man of action, among others. But above all else, he displayed extraordinary artistic qualities that led him to bestow on humanity some of the most beautiful metaphors of his time. Committed to the fight against climate change and a fundamental pillar during the inception of the German Green Party, he conceived a shocking and dynamic image for himself which perfectly complimented his singular scenic presence, one that was greatly effective for the performative activities he practiced with intensity.

José María Viñuela

José María Viñuela (Ibrahernando, Cáceres, 1944) is a board member of the Helga de Alvear Foundation, Collection conservator, Main Curator for opening events at the Helga de Alvear Museum and is responsible for the museographic design of exhibition installations.

Educated at the Facultad de Ciencias of the Universidad Complutense and at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura (1961-1968), in 1974, Viñuela moved to Hamburg in order to continue with his education at the Hochshule für Bildende Künste. After his return, in the years between 1974 and 1977, he worked as an assistant for architect José María García de Paredes on projects such as the Manuel de Falla Auditorium in Granada, or Casa Narciso Yepes in Madrid, among others.

In 1978, he was named Head of Exhibitions and Museography at the Museo Municipal de Madrid and in 1980 he was named Artistic Advisor for Banco de España. After this period, in 1983, he was named Heritage Conservator of the Banco de España, a position he held until his retirement in 2015. During this latter stage, he oversaw an important remodeling of the institution’s network of subsidiaries and of both central buildings in Madrid. Furthermore, he worked on the consolidation of the Bank’s artistic collection through the acquisition of more than fifty historical works – among which are two portraits by Francisco de Goya – and also established the Contemporary Art Collection at Banco de España through the incorporation of over one thousand works and approximately 4000 chalcographic engravings. From 1981 onward, he has attended the most relevant events in the artistic world: documentas, manifestas, biennials and international fairs, while also being knowledgeable on the context international museums. He has organized and curated over one hundred exhibitions in Europe, America and Asia; given numerous conferences; been part of a range of architecture and art juries and has published articles and texts regularly. Between 1997 and 1998, he was a member of the European Central Bank Cultural Committee and of the committee responsible for selecting iconographic motifs for the euro.

José María Viñuela participated in the creation of the Helga de Alvear Foundation and has frequently contributed to the development of the project from its inception. His recent curatorship of this new phase in the development of the Helga de Alvear Museum included the design of the museographic project and compartmentalization of exhibition space, as well as the selection of works from the Collection to be included in the show, their installation within the venue and the edition of the catalogue.

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