Joseph Heinrich Beuys was a German artist, teacher, and theorist of art who was highly influential in international contemporary art in the latter half of the 20th century. He is a founder of the art movement known as Fluxus, and a practitioner and exemplar of happenings, and performance art. He adopted media and techniques including paint, sculpture, graphic art, and installation.
His work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy, and anthroposophy; it culminates in his "extended definition of art" and the idea of social sculpture as a gesamtkunstwerk, for which he claimed a creative, participatory role in shaping society and politics. His career was characterized by open public debates on a very wide range of subjects including political, environmental, social, and long-term cultural trends. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century.