Beuys Prize for Marta Ryczkowskas (Poland) and Daniel Spaulding (USA)

Moyland Castle Museum
The Beuys Prize goes international

Marta Ryczkowskas (Poland) and Daniel Spaulding (United States) receive in equal shares the Joseph Beuys research prize, endowed with 10,000 euros. The award ceremony takes place in the Zwirnersaal of the Museum Schloss Moyland.

In August 1981, Beuys drove with his family from Düsseldorf to Lodz. On the roof of his mobile home, he transported more than 700 drawings, objects, documentation and archival material on his earlier work across the border to the east in a wooden chest. He understood this as a way to make amends for the former Wehrmacht soldier and overcome mental and political boundaries during the Iron Curtain era. After his arrival, 13 more works were added, which the artist made from the action. For the Lodz Museum, this is not only an important part of the collection, but also a parallel to the creation, which began in 1931 with a donation from artists to the Lodz House.

Excerpt from Marta Ryczkowska’s thesis, “Inspiration, rapprochement and parallel processes. Joseph Beuys and Polish art”. “Marta Ryczkowska’s work represents an important contribution to the history of the reception of Beuys’ research and makes a decisive contribution so that Beuys’ work can be thought about in a new way”, says Petra Richter. With transport, Beuys reacted to the upheavals in Poland caused by “Solidarnosc” and saw them in the sense of his social sculpture that the country was moving towards a democratic society. Ryczkowskas precisely analyzes this history of the two countries after the Second World War, as well as direct and indirect artistic or political references.

Art historian and freelance author Petra Richter chairs the jury for the Joseph Beuys Research Prize, which will be awarded on Saturday May 14 at 4 p.m. in the Zwirnersaal of Museum Schloss Moyland. This year to two winners of the first prize in equal parts. In addition to Marta Ryczkowskas, Daniel Spaulding also convinced the jury with his thesis “Beuys, Terror, Value: 1967-1979”. In it, the University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor and Yale graduate examines Beuys’ artistic work in the context of political, economic and social changes in the Federal Republic of Germany from the late 1960s to the late of the 1970s. Beuys’ metaphorical equation “art = capital” compares Spaulding to Karl Marx’s exchange value. With the two winners, the prize, endowed with 10,000 euros, is awarded for the first time to scientists outside Germany: the prize becomes international.

The link between science and museum is a big advantage for Museum Schloss Moyland, says museum director Antje-Britt Mählmann. The chief executive of the Museum Schloss Moyland Foundation, Julia Niggemann, had previously stressed how important it was for the foundation to promote young scientists and stay in social discourse with Beuys. Mählmann sees the Moyländer Museum “as a space for reflection and movement between art and science”, which also supports international research with the Joseph Beuys Archive, as the current award shows. With such interaction within an open museum, one could create new spaces for reflection and make aspects of Beuys even more visible to a wider audience.

Petra Richter was delighted to see the two reception poles of Beuys in the East and in the West. Especially in the United States, where Beuys, so different from what he was used to, was viewed mostly with a critical eye. The two winners emphasized that they had dealt intensively with the post-war artist, who still has an impact on the art scene today and whose reflection on the process of democratization and the so-called social sculpture has always been political. The background of a relationship between the artist, who grew up in Kleve, and National Socialism, which was so hotly discussed in Germany in the anniversary year, played no part in their thoughts.

Marta Ryczkowskas from Lublin is an art historian, critic and author of texts on contemporary art. She was awarded the Ministry of Science and Higher Education Fellowship in 2007 and 2014. Daniel Spaulding’s research focuses on the art that emerged in Western Europe after World War II.

Frank Ruffing, who was both a member of the board of the Volksbank Kleverland and chairman of the Friends of the Museum Schloss Moyland, stressed that the Beuys Prize, created by the Friends of the Museum Schloss Moyland Foundation and the Volksbank Kleverland, will continue . Just like it was there when the price was launched.

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