Jean-Pierre Wilhelm’s Retire Happening, Joseph Beuys’ house, Dusseldorf
This is a photograph of the 1967 happening of Jean-Pierre Wilhelm’s retirement address made to the art world at Joseph Beuys’ house in Dusseldorf. In his writing, Beuys Vox (1986), Nam June Paik referred to the event as one of the most important incidents of the year. “Already in his fifties and aware of his impending death, Wilhelm along with Manfred Leve came to Beuys’ apartment where Charlotte and I stayed. While having a chat, he took a piece of paper out of his pocket and recited a declaration of goodbye to his official art life. The moment was photographed by Dr. Leve. After Wilhelm returned home, Beuys, Charlotte and I giggled at the thought why the old guy had to do such a silly action. But the next year, he simply passed away.” Paik was enormously grateful to Wilhelm since Fluxus could not come into being without him and also he made three turning points in Paik’s artistic career.
black & white photograph
Jean-Pierre Wilhelm, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman