Fall 2014 Editor’s Pick
Opens Tues, Sept 9, 6-8p:
“RITE OF PASSAGE: The Early Years of Vienna Actionism, 1960 – 1966”
Günter Brus, Otto Muehl, Hermann Nitsch, Rudolf Schwarzkogler
Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th St., NYC
the first major New York City exhibition to explore, through rare paintings, collages, and photographs, the emergence of a critical 20th-century avant-garde movement. Various artistic developments in the second half of the 20th century have been influenced by a performative paradigm that emphasizes a move away from formal, static objects and toward more directly experiential, event-like, and sensorial gestures. In the early 1960s, the Vienna Actionists defined their radical style through a critique of painting, specifically that of European Art Informel and the Abstract Expressionism of the New York School. Under Austria’s Second Republic, Brus, Muehl, Nitsch, and Schwarzkogler sought out new possibilities for expression that could transcend the shadow of World War II. Motivated by material experimentation, they developed their art around radical body-centric performances through which authentic experiences of reality and incisive political statements could be directly and intensely perceived.