I like America and America likes Me

I like America and America Like Me (1974) Joseph Beuys 1921-1986

In this paper I would like to discuss how the post-Vietnam performance, Coyote: I Like America and America Likes Me (1974), was an attempt to clarify his trauma and the culture of German nationalism and Nazis. His staged journey from Germany to the United States in 1974 was a crucial moment in opening up a search for post-fascist aesthetics in dialogue with other species and other nations. Beuys had been invited several times to show his work in the USA, but had publicly announced that he refused to enter the USA as long as the Vietnam War was on. His arrival right after the Vietnam War was an art performance which can be seen as a mythic/romantic anti-salute to US imperialism.

Beuys arrived as the main character in an art performance, which he carefully staged from his moment of arrival in John F. Kennedy airport until his departure one week later. Upon arrival in JFK, his motionless body was wrapped up in a felt blanket (notice the reference to his legendary crash) and placed on a hospital stretcher. He was carried into an ambulance and transported to René Block gallery, downtown New York City. Beuys spent his journey inside the gallery in the company of a coyote and he traveled back to Germany, first inside the ambulance to JFK, right after the performance.

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