Social Art Forms
The idea of an art made from the social, from people participating in social interactions, descends from the Dadaists, revolutionaries, and utopians, infusing various strands of artmaking in the 50's and 60's including John Cage's Black Mountain events, Alan Kaprow's happenings, Fluxus, Gutai, the Situationist International, conceptual, body and performance art, and the work of Joseph Beuys, who crowned the swell by coining the term "social sculpture."
Joseph Beuys defined "social sculpture" as "how we mould and shape the world in which we live." It is in this context that he made his famous statement that "everyone is an artist." He envisioned an art that was literally revolutionary, in which every human being would be participating in "the total artwork of the future social order" which he imagined as a "free democratic socialism". He viewed the art objects he made as being "stimulants for the transformation of the idea of sculpture. . . .Or of art in general. They should provoke thoughts about what sculpture can be and how the concept of sculpting can be extended to the invisible materials used by everyone." Beuys felt that the promise of participatory art forms (dada, fluxus, happenings) could only be realized by a complete artistic and social revolution (his own), but he also frequently acknowledged that this idea of what social sculpture could be or could become was still largely unexplored and unrealized.