Widely recognized as one of the most influential artists of his generation, Nitsch alongside Otto Muehl, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, and Günter Brus initiated the Viennese Actionism movement. Trained as a graphic designer he always had a strong interest in religious and mythological symbols. Since 1957 he staged over 100 performances of his Orgien Mysterien Theater that were inspired by Catholic Church and religious rituals of all times, the Wagnerian model of the Gesamtkunstwerk, and Dionysian orgies. Beginning in 1960 he made abstract paintings splattered in visceral reds, browns, grays, and blacks evoking associations of the human body, orifices, and performance. Today his art continues to be as vibrant and necessary as when he began.Read More
The Austrian government created a Hermann Nitsch Museum near his home in Prinzendorf, Austria. Additionally his longtime friend, the collector Giuseppe Morra honored Nitsch’s work with a museum in Naples, Italy. In response to the considerable controversy and protests his work has generated, Nitsch has stated: “I never intended to provoke. I always looked for intensity, the Greek tragic plays of antiquity, the Passion of Christ and the Dionysian orgy always had my love.”
His work is all consuming and uncompromising. Nitsch explains, “I was very compelled by work that uses all of our senses. I wanted all the intensity to come out in painting like in my theater. I was interested in the intense beauty of the collective moment.”
His work is in the collections of most major museums in the world including Centre Georges Pompidou; Guggenheim Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; MOMA; Nationalgalerie, Berlin and Munich; Stedelijk Eindhoven; Tate. He has had scores of one person shows and in spring 2015 will have a one person show at Fundación Jumex (or Museo Jumex) in Mexico City. From September 28 – December 6, 2015, Nitsch will have a one-person show entitled Leviticus at The Hudson Valley Center of Contemporary Art in Peekskill, New York.
Hermann Nitsch will have his first solo exhibition at our gallery September 9 – October 18, 2015. This presentation will include recent works as well as seminal pieces from his fifty year career.
Text courtesy Marc Straus.