Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit: Works by Joseph Beuys and Adam McEwen

May 1, 2024 – July 1, 2024
Rabbit,Rabbit,Rabbit Installlation VIew, Joseph Beuys & Adam McEwen.
Rabbit,Rabbit,Rabbit Installation View: Adam McEwen, New York, New York, 2010. 130 x 1 3/4 x 89 in , 330.2 x 4.4 x 226.1 cm
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit Installation View, Adam McEwen: New York New York, 2010, Bomber harris, 2009, Rubbermaid Stepstool, 2009, Untitled (Flourescent Light) 2008.
Rabbit,Rabbit,Rabbit Installation View, Adam McEwen, Joseph Beuys.
Rabbit,Rabbit,Rabbit: Installation View, Adam McEwen, Joseph Beuys.
Rabbit,Rabbit,Rabbit Installation View, Adam McEwen, Joseph Beuys.
Joseph Beuys Save the Woods, 1972. Offset Lithograph (Edition of 200). 19.3 x 19.7 in, 49 x 50 cm
Joseph Beuys Hasenzucker (Hare Sugar), 1972. Screenprint in colors, on cardstock, with full margins, with accompanying paper-wrapped sugar cube contained in the original cardboard box, lined with cotton wool . 20 1/10 × 35 in, 51 × 89 cm
Joseph Beuys Celtic +, 1971. Multiple of cloth-covered box with stamp additions, containing ten photographs, film, and glass bottle with gelatin and beeswax.
Joseph Beuys DDR-Filz, 1979. felt typewriter pad with handwritten addition, Stamped. 12 5/8 x 11 3/4 x 5/8 in, 32.07 x 29.85 x 1.59
Joseph Beuys 1 Wirtschaftswerke , 1976-84. knife with handwritten text, pencil. 26.5 x 2 x 1.5 cm

Press Release

We are delighted to announce the opening of our new exhibition Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, with works by Joseph Beuys and Adam McEwen.  According to tradition, uttering the words before any others on the first day of the month will bring one good luck for the rest of the thirty days. Deeply rooted in cultural associations with Fertility, spring, abundance and rebirth, the rabbit or “Hare” image has been found in Ancient Egypt, classical Greece, and Rome, while emblems of 3 hares in a circle embellish the interior and exterior walls of medieval churches. The animal has been referenced prominently in the work of Joseph Beuys, while also making a brief appearance in McEwen’s work. *

In the exhibition, an array of multiples by Joseph Beuys made between 1968-1980 are arranged in a large vitrine, referencing the presentation method Beuys often chose to exhibit his work throughout his career. Always keeping forms of nature in mind, Beuys saw the vitrines themselves as representative of a stag with its large body and thin legs. In turn, the multiples illuminate a special place in Beuys’ oeuvre, and once famously proclaimed “if you have all my multiples, then you have me completely.” Predominately inspired by a desire to disseminate his ideas in a broader context, he created multiples of posters, objects, and collages, at times leaving them unsigned and belonging to unlimited editions.

Adam McEwen’s oeuvre shares with Beuys, an extraordinary and surprising use of materials. McEwen’s use of graphite, echoes Beuys use of the dark volcanic stone, basalt.  But Whereas Beuys centered on, nature, conservation, and ritual, in McEwen’s work, we see everyday objects (perhaps contemporary totems?) such as an industrial step stool and a fluorescent light fixture. McEwen first sees these sculptures as “sketches” carved out of the very material that one might use to make a drawing. But these sculptures seem the product of an alternate universe where shiny new things are flipped into light-absorbing doppelgangers. This is especially evident in the fluorescent light fixture, whose tubing made of graphite, literally sucks light out of the room.

In the large raw canvas on one of the gallery’s walls, McEwen has various colors of chewing gum and acrylic paint placed in a Rorschach-like pattern on either side. Though initially the painting may be perceived as playful, McEwen’s chewing gum painting series allude to the Allied bombings of various towns in Germany during WWII.  When looking at the painting and considering the reference, one can’t help to bring to mind Beuys’ origin story when in 1943 the bomber he was flying in crashed in the Crimea peninsula. The splattering and flattening of the gum on the surface of the painting invokes a somber connotation, shifting ones focus from immediate childhood pleasures to that of an endless cycle of consumption and destruction, equally repeated, but perhaps foretelling, a new beginning.

Joseph Beuys (German, 1921-1986)

Beuys was a renowned German performance artist, teacher, and art theorist who immersed himself in politics throughout his life. He is most renowned for popularizing the Fluxus movement–an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, and designers in the 1960s and 1970s who foregrounded the experimental artistic process over finished objects. Beuys hosted “actions,” where acts of a ritual nature were performed. In his work Galleria Ferrari from 1978, Beuys is depicted with his hand out, as if he is addressing an audience, a few members of which you can see in the left-hand corner. His photographs were deeply influential in the postwar art world.

Educated in Rindern, Beuys served in the German Luftwaffe throughout World War II, and barely survived a plane crash. He was then held as a prisoner of war in a British internment camp until released after the war. Afterwards he pursued his educational interests in art and science, and then became an instructor of sculpture at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as he honed his art practice. The most public collection of his work was installed in the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, where his work remains to this day. He also represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and 1980. His works remain in the collections around the world.

Adam McEwen was born in 1965 in London, England. He received his B.A. in 1987 from Christ Church, Oxford, and then received his B.F.A. in 1991 from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. McEwen’s work has been shown in major exhibitions around the world, including “Axis of Praxis,” Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2006); “Into Me/Out of Me,” P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2006); “Beg, Borrow and Steal,” Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2009); “The Reach of Realism,” Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2009); “Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010, traveled to Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain); “The Last Newspaper,” New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2010); “America Is Hard to See,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015); and “Progressive Praxis,” de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami (2016). McEwen’s work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Recent solo exhibitions include The McAllister Institute, New York (2003); The Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas (2012); The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2013); Museo Civico Diocesano di Santa Maria dei Servi, Città della Piene (2015); “Tinnitus,” The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2016); and “Adam McEwen: I Think I’m in Love,” Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2017). McEwen currently lives and works in New York City and is represented by Gagosian Gallery.

The Gallery is open by appointment Please contact the gallery for more information or email us at info@leokoenig.com