Editorial: America Still Likes Me

Editorial: America Still Likes Me



The work of the German artist Joseph Beuys, its politics, earthliness and primacy, has captivated me for a long time. His performance piece I Like America and America Likes Me was the one that hit me both at the gut level and the cerebral one.

In May 1974, Beuys came to America. At the John F. Kennedy airport he was wrapped in felt from head to toe, so he could not see the country he was in. He was put in an ambulance and driven to an art gallery in SoHo, where he spent a week with a wild coyote. Thereafter, he was wrapped in felt again and left America without seeing it. This performance, with its multi-layered tension between civilization and nature, had become one of the most celebrated art pieces of the 20th Century.

At the time StyleZeitgeist magazine was conceived, I have already harbored a secret desire to replicate what Beuys did. As a matter of fact I was quite surprised that no one in fashion has done this before. Soon enough we got the chance. I commissioned the photographer Jeff Elstone for it. Serendipitously, Jeff had a friend who owned a gorgeous wolf/husky mutt. The Wall Street journals were not hard to get, but our managing editor, Daniel Franco, had to schlep upstate to get a bale of hay. We published this editorial in our print volume 2.

For Beuys, clothing, particularly felt, with its insulation and warmth, was an indispensable element of his art. We wanted to pay homage to Beuys with the clothes we imagined he would wear today.

Photography: Jeff P. Elstone II | Styling: Jenesee Utley | Model: Seijo at Soul Artist Management

Clothes by Ann Demeulemeester, Paul Harnden, Geoffrey B. Small, Forme D. Expression, GUIDI and more

About the author

Eugene Rabkin

Eugene Rabkin is the founder of stylezeitgeist.com. He has contributed articles on fashion and culture to The Business of Fashion, Vogue Russia, Buro247, the Haaretz Daily Newspaper, and other publications. He has taught critical writing and fashion writing courses at Parsons the New School for Design.


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