I take this German-language biography as an occasion to discuss the reception of Beuys's work in general, which has long been marked by a deadlock between uncritical adoration and complete critical rejection. In recent years, this has started to change somewhat.
Riegel's biography might spark a throwback, as the author has diligently gathered incriminating evidence that makes it really tempting to dismiss Beuys as an inveterate mythologizer and liar, dabbler in esoteric nonsense, and friend of right-wing creeps.
While this material obviously needs to be taken into account, I argue that biographical reductionism must be avoided when coming to terms with the remains and the afterlife of Beuys's practice. The review is online here.