Joseph Beuys (German, 1921–1986)
7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks), 1982–1987/1998
Basalt marker and red oak tree. Tree and basalt stone planted by the Middlebury College Museum of Art in memory of the artist Joseph Beuys. 1998.003
Location: Lawn between Starr Hall and Starr Axxin
A meditative artist, political activist, and influential teacher, Joseph Beuys termed much of his work “social sculpture,” by which he meant to suggest his utopian belief that art had more than an aesthetic function.
For Beuys, the ever-changing proportional relationship between the young tree and the inanimate stone marker illustrated the permanent state of flux in which all organisms exist. His selection of basalt, a form of hardened, volcanic lava, alludes to both volatility and duration, linked aspects of time that inform all of his works. The tree and marker from this ambitious project link Middlebury to the larger global community: in contemplating this site the viewer is connected with a network of other viewers contemplating similar installations in numerous places on the planet.
(Photo: Tad Merrick)