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Collections Browse Das Orwell-Bein — Hose für das 21. Jahrhundert(The Orwell Leg — Trousers for the 21st Century)

Collections Browse Das Orwell-Bein — Hose für das 21. Jahrhundert(The Orwell Leg — Trousers for the 21st Century)

Title
Das Orwell-Bein — Hose für das 21. Jahrhundert(The Orwell Leg — Trousers for the 21st Century)
Artist
Joseph Beuys
Date
1984
Dimensions
Overall 45 × 20 × 0.25 inches
Materials
denim jeans
Location
Not on view

Object Details

Type
Mixed Media (Multiples)
Accession Number
1992.197
Style
Fluxus
Edition
unlimited
Inscriptions
In pencil on paper tag attached by thread to back left pocket “Joseph Beuys”; In pencil on paper tag attached by thread to back left pocket “la Jambe d'Orwell / Pantalon pour / le 21e siecle”
Physical Description
denim jeans with circular hole cut in both knees
Printer
N.A.
Credit Line
Alfred and Marie Greisinger Collection, Walker Art Center, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1992

object label Joseph Beuys, The Orwell Leg–Trousers for the 21st Century (1984) Walker Art Center, 2000

Jeans with holes cut in the front and back of the knees were used in Joseph Beuys’ performance Good Morning, Mr. Orwell, which was broadcast live from Paris on December 31, 1983. During the action Beuys stated that everyone should wear a pair “to fight against materialism and repression.” He was certainly referring to George Orwell’s bleak vision of the future in his novel 1984, but the jeans may also allude to anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner’s (1861-1925) designation of the knees as the area of the skeleton associated with the ability to see into the future. In this multiple, Beuys liberates our “eyes” by showing where to cut the holes in our pants.

This acquisition continues the Walker’s aim of acquiring works in depth by artists to whom the museum has a long-term commitment. The Orwell Leg–Trousers for the 21st Century joins a collection of more than 400 multiples by Beuys that the Walker acquired in 1992.

Label text for Joseph Beuys, The Orwell Leg–Trousers for the 21st Century (1984), from the exhibition State of the Art: Recent Gifts and Acquisitions, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, July 22-October 8, 2000.

Copyright 2000 Walker Art Center