Sonne statt Reagan!  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"Sonne statt Reagan!" (1982) is a song by Joseph Beuys.

In 1982, Beuys recorded a music video for a song he had written entitled “Sonne statt Reagan” which translates to “Sun, not Rain/Reagan” This was an anti-Reagan political piece that included some clever puns in German and continued to reinforce some of the key messages of Beuys' career—namely an extremely liberal, pacifist political attitude; a desire to perpetuate open discourse on art and politics; a refusal to sanctify his own image and ‘artistic reputation’ by only doing the kinds of work other people expected he would do; and above all an openness to exploring different media forms to get across the messages he wanted to convey. His continued commitment to the demystification and dis-institutionalization of the ‘art world’ was never more clear than it is here.

Beuys made it clear that he considered this song as a work of art, not the “pop” product it appears to be, which is apparent from the moment one views it. Such becomes more obvious when one looks at the lyrics, which are aimed directly at Reagan, the military complex and whoever is trying to defrost the “Cold War” to make it “hot.” The song has to be understood in the context of intense liberal and progressive frustration in 1982. Beuys warns Reagan et al. that the peace-loving masses are behind him, and that includes the Americans as well.

This work has been avoided in some discourse on Beuys because he has been put in artistically sacrosanct position and this is not in conformance with Beuys' other work. In choosing to do a piece in the form of popular music, Beuys demonstrated a commitment to his views and the most expansive ways of having them reach people. While it is easy to resist and ridicule Beuys' efforts in the pop arena, it does not change the fact that this is an important part of his collected works that needs to be acknowledged to better understand his scope, intention and own views of art.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sonne statt Reagan!" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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