Head Against the Wall and Violent Art

“The ‘moral-attackers’ look a bit ridiculous as they bang the same heads against the same wall decade after decade …. A crime us not less of a crime because it has been committed by an artist, and it follows that art is not less valid due to the fact that the artist is an offender… It is imperative that in a civilized legal system that the judges must be impartial and independent and that the victims should take it upon themselves to judge the perpetrator.[1]
– Dr. Rudolf Scholten, former Minister of Art, concerning Otto Mühl. Scholten is member of the Board of Directors of the Austrian Kontroll-Bank, the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Executive Committee of the Bilderberg-Conference

Otto Mühl Exhibit in the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, March 3 – May 31, 2004:
“Otto Mühl: Life/Art/Work Action Utopia Painting 1960 –2004”
(Original title: Life as a Work of Art)
Otto Mühl’s life, with all of its aspects is being touted as a work of art by the advocates of Actionism.

It stood to reason that a man who had publicly copulated while wallowing in excrement and who had whipped a man bloody in the aula of the university[2] was suited to be the guardian of children in a commune. There he reigned for almost two decades while the funding flowed in and praise came from the highest state offices.

“Blasphemy, obscenity, charlatanism, sadistic excesses, orgies, the aesthetics of the cesspool are our moral means.[3] That includes rape and murder.[4] Murder is an integral part of sex. [5] It will soon become an ethical necessity to rob banks and to shoot a random cripple down.” [6]  “Nitsch is a sadist with a mania for approbation, an autistic alcoholic who’s completely narcissistic and a mother’s boy who didn’t get enough attention. Rainer is genuinely violent and a sadist.  Nitsch torments the participants in his actions; they’re constantly freezing. He arranges that intentionally. I’d like to know how many became ill, how many caught pneumonia, how many died.”[7]
– Otto Mühl, Actionist

Bruno Kreisky extols and sanctions Otto Mühl: “…my friend the great painter, perhaps the best we have in Austria.[8] He went through a great and intense development as a human being, and he as a matter of fact, brought new humane qualities to the life of the community.”[9] “From a liberal point of view, we have no choice but to let these young people go their way.[10] We must offer this experiment protection against being attacked by the press, above all by German papers.”[11]

Here is a segment of an article from Der Spiegel of March 1, 2004:Prior the opening of Mühl-Show in MAK, which they consider to be an attempt to rehabilitate the artist, two young women have come forward to present new accusations. They claim that Mühl not only abused teenagers, as has already been confirmed, but small children as well. In sworn statements, the two victims describe how Mühl forced them to participate in sexual acts when they were small children.

 “One of the women, who is now 29 years old, describes how Mühl forced her to engage in sexual actions with him in front of the leadership of the commune at the age of five. Both women state that at the time of Mühl’s trial, they were forced to remain silent about these occurrences by members of the Commune.”[12]

 The essence of Nitsch: “The intoxication created by the blood and the ripping apart of raw flesh should be satisfying and enjoyable since it relieves man of his suppressed desires…. If possible I would prefer to work with human beings, with dead human beings, with corpses to be specific.”[13] I could well envision that murder could be a component of a work of art; the artist’s accountability would have another status…Thus, art can consist of a crime.”[14] Killing was and is beyond all moral judgments.”[15] “Mühl’s specialty is minors and sex, and my specialty is the agonizing torture of animals.[16]

In the ”Partitur” to his 6-Day Feast and The Conquest of Jerusalem, Nitsch describes the laceration and desecration of women’s and children’s bodies.[17]

An exculpation: “Nitsch remarked that his intent was not to kill the children. He only wants work with material that is already dead.”[18]

Here is a quotation from the Partitur: “A 7-year old boy is nailed to the wall as if crucified. His head is beaten and shattered with rectangular stones, his bloody brains come out. The bloody brain is rinsed and washed with lukewarm sugar-water.”[19]

 A key quotation by Nitsch: “I no longer intend to place a humane corset on my work.”[20]

More from the Partitur:

„Cadavers of two year old children, one year old children and newborn children are brought into the room. Hair is torn from the heads of the cadavers. The lips and the sexual organs are torn apart. The chests of the small corpses are opened. The moist-bloody innards are torn out. pieces of flesh are torn from the dead children. Hands and feet are ripped out of their sockets. body parts of the dead children are hurled around the room.”[21]

On July 30, 1998 a TV interview with Hermann Nitsch was broadcast. On August 4th the following letter to the editor was published in the Kronen Zeitung, Austria’s largest-selling tabloid. The author is Lore Jarosch, biographer of Hans Dichand, the paper’s publisher:

Dear Herr Chancellor, if your daughter were to be placed on a stage with shaven head and have her sex organ penetrated under the direction of Herr Nitsch, I would like to know whether you would still speak about ’the freedom of art.’”[22]

I would like to note that although Frau Jarosch’s letter was published, the paper did not pursue the matter.

Concerning criticism of Hermann Nitsch “Only those with no knowledge of the significance of ritual and corporeality in art and who have no desire for even a partial understanding can construe the use of religious objects as desecration and the willful violation of religious feelings.[23]  What is now happening is a linguistic Rostock, which is paving the way for a pogrom atmosphere.” [24]
– Dr. Rudolf Scholten, former Austrian Minister of Art, In Rostock in 1992

“I admired Nitsch before it was incontestable for a politician. Now that he has directed for the (State) Opera, implacable condemnation has turned into reverence. Apparently everything changes when one works for a reputed house.”[25]
– Dr. Franz Vranitzky, former Austrian Chancellor

In the winter of 1989, Mühl and his fellow Actionists were honored at their exhibit their exhibition in Kassel, Germany, by Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky who traveled there to open it.

reunification of Germany, neo-Nazis set fire to a building filled with refugees to the applause of bystanders).

“Whether it be Nitsch’s “6-Day Feast,” whether it be the work of the Viennese Group in the Biannual Catalogue that been defamed as child pornography….We guarantee Nitsch the protection of the state for practicing his profession freely.”
– Dr. Peter Wittmann, Austrian State Secretary for Culture. [26]

 “If we don’t prosper, the world will be blown up.”[27]Take your cock out! Exhibitionists to the fore! … We will beat citizens until they become human beings.”[28]
– Peter Weibel, Actionist and Culture Commissar

More Weibel: “I knew a university professor named Stephan Koren. He was cripple and wanted to convince me that he was a man like me. In order to prove this he pressed on in politics to the rank of minister with just one arm…when Koran the cripple raises his left arm during his speeches, it becomes a ghastly monument of his dissipated and mutilated humanity. This scum of the nation fills every healthy Austrian with such dread that the pupils of his eyes would burst at the sight.”[29]

“A bird is tied to a pedestal with a thin cord. I kneel in front of the bird on the pedestal and then I pour scalding wax over it. When I knock the pot of wax over with my head the bird’s head is inundated and my right hand is doused. Then I pour wax on my feet and my left hand. I free my hands by cutting the cord with a knife that I have picked up from the pedestal with my mouth. The pedestal is encircled by nails scattered around the plateau of the pedestal on which the drama of mankind is depicted.“[30]
– Valie Export, Actionist & designer of the anti-fascistic monument in Allentsteig, Lower Austria

 “We thought about killing people as a work of art, or that sort of thing – if that is radical. But it did not happen. Bayer, Achleitner, Rühm and I met for intensive discussions on an almost daily basis for two or three years.”[31]
– Oswald Wiener, author and Actionist

 Shortly before his death in December of 2003 Museum Director Otto Breicha admitted that pedophilia is practiced in artistic circles, and added that divulging information could have dire consequences.

Helmut Butterweck to Herbert Kuhner concerning Nitsch & Co.: “I would never do what you are doing. Modern art is part and parcel of the anti-fascistic movement.”[32]

Anti-humanism cannot be a component of anti-fascism.

Violence for its own sake is the antithesis of anti-fascism.

 “In other words, in the cultural scene one can give vent to Nazi-type barbarity under a Leftist banner.” [33]
– Lutz Dammbeck, director of The Master Game

 It takes true genius to execute inhumanity and brutality with impunity under the cloak of freedom of art.
– Johannes Diethart, author and publisher

 Violence as an art form not only borders on crime, it transcends that border.
– H.K.


Life as a Work of Art

MAK: (Museum of Applied Arts): “Otto Mühl: Life as a Work of Art”
Otto Mühl Exhibit in the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, March 3 – May 31, 2000:
“Otto Mühl: Life/Art/Work Action Utopia Painting 1960 –2004”
(Original title: Life as a Work of Art)

When members of the commune rebelled, the yellow press helped bring Mühl down. “Progressive” elements either defended him or stayed on the sidelines. As far as the revisionists are concerned, those who attempt to downplay the murder of one-and-a-half million children in the death factories of the Third Reich are not opposed to the abuse of children.)

Andreas Schlothauer concerning proceedings during the trial of Mühl on January 23, 1990: “After the moving descriptions of seven girls who were sexually abused by Mühl, a compilation of videos was shown after the courtroom had been cleared of spectators. In addition to violent actions by Mühl, his wife Claudia was shown forcing minors to engage in oral sex with her in front of an enthusiastic audience. ’I have seen the films, and they cannot be compared to anything I’ve ever viewed,’ said Frau Jelinek, the judge, ‘The boys did not want to do it; they were in tears. They received a permanent shock. One was her son, the son and his stepmother!’ (One of the boys was the son of Otto Mühl and Claudia’s sister).”

“District attorney Rabonog, still under the impression of the testimony of witnesses and the videos, stated in his summation: ‘I have taken part in many major trials, but the fate of the victims has never moved me so much as in this one. Mühl engages in the practice of terror. History has shown us what a concentration camp is. What the girls in the Friedrichshof had to go through was just as horrible. Otto Mühl experimented with people; he manipulated them. He was so sensitive as an artist that he thought that when a girl said “no” she meant “yes.” The children weren’t voluntarily there; he had taken their parents from them, and thus the ability of leaving the commune. They didn’t have a chance.’[34]

Children are sacrificed on the altar of art. And so be it!

Otto Mühl’s trial in Eisenstadt ended with a conviction and a seven-year sentence for “the sexual abuse of minors, rape and forced abortion.”[35]

Actionist events are geared for public participation. In the “private” events, there are no holds barred.

Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof, Profil: “Some gentlemen in high places – we have heard – visited Mühl in order to have themselves served by wild women.[36]

Was it only women that the host served up! And some want what they want accompanied by theatrical trimmings.

According to an article by Manfred Seeh in Die Presse, 17.8 million Austrian Shillings hush money was paid to the parents of underage girls and other members of the commune prior to Otto Mühl’s trial in 1988-9. That is approximately one and a half million dollars.[37]

 Rudolf Scholten to Gerhard Praschak before his suicide: “We are not living in London or New York where performance is decisive. We are in Austria where politics is the determining factor.”[38]
(Praschak had to vacate his bank post to Scholten.)

And after Praschak’s suicide: “I cannot engage in a controversy with someone who is no longer alive.”[39]


Head Against the Wall


“The ‘moral-attackers’ look a bit ridiculous as they bang the same heads against the same wall decade after decade.”[40]
– Rudolf Scholten

“I did not bang my head. I got it banged. But I don’t feel the least bit ridiculous.”




* * * * * * * * * * *


[1] Rudolf Scholten, Profil, No. 11, 8, March 8, 2004, p. 147.
[2] Transparent Spezial, ORF, May 8, 1996, description by Peter Weibel.
[3] Transparent Spezial, ORF (Austrian Radio), May 8, 1996.
[4] Josef Dvorak: “Die Faschisten von heute: Antwort an Hermann Nitsch,“ Neues Forum, No. 246, June 1974, Vienna, p. 44; Otto Mühl, ZOCK, Aspekte einer Totalrevolution 66/71 Munich, 1971; Supervisuel 6, „Otto Mühl will Menschen schlachten,“ Zurich, 1970.
[5] Fritz Rumler:” Ein Problem der Umweltverschmutzung?,“ Der Spiegel, 1968 (exact date illegible), Frankfurt, p. 254
[6] Josef Dvorak: “Amoklauf der Aktionisten,“ Neues Forum, Sept./Oct. 1974, Nos. 249/250, p. 2.
[7] Andreas Schlothauer, Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität p. 122.
[8] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität: AAO, Mühl-Kommune, Friedrichshof, Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik; Vienna, 1992, p. 139.
[9] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität p. 141.
[10] Im Brennpunkt: “Die Tage der Kommune,“ Dokumentation von Elisabeth Scharang, ORF (Austrian TV) Feb. 11, 1998, quotation by Robert Sedlacek, Bruno Kreisky’s secretary from 1980-1983.
[11] Ibid., quotation by Karl Iro.
[12] Jürgen Kremb: „Opfer der Kommine“ Der Spiegel, No. 10, March 1, 2004, p. 156.
[13] Mojca Kumerdej: “Hermann Nitsch o smrti in Zivljenu,” Delo, Ljubljana, Oct. 3, 1992; “Im Blutrausch,” News,, No. 30/95, p. 190; “Sechs Tage blutiges Welttheater,” News, No. 40/96, p. 190, “The Devil In a Grey Beard,” interview with Adrian Searle, The Guardian, Manchester, Nov. 15, 1997, p. 17; News, No. 27, July, 2001, p. 7.
[14] Falter 24-30, 7, No. 30, 1998, p. 18.
[15] Paula Devarney: “Nitsch – Art of Killing,” Caellian, 9. Oct. 1970; Hermann Nitsch: Das rote Tuch – Das Orgien Mysterien Theater – Im Spiegel der Presse 1960-1988, Freibord, Vienna, 1988, p. 106.
[16]Gerhard Jaschke, Ed.: Das Rote Tuch: Der Mensch das unappetitliche Vieh, Edition Freibord, Vienna, 1988, „Wiener Aktionisten kreuzigten in Neapel Lamm – ausgewiesen“, from the Arbeiter-Zeitung, April 13, 1974
[17] Hermann Nitsch: Orgien Mysterien Theater/Orgies Mystery Theater, März Verlag, Darmtadt, 1969; Das Orgien-Mysterien-Theaters in Schloß Prinzendorf, Vols.1-9, Edition Freibord, Vienna, Die Eroberung von Jerusalem, Die Drossel, Berlin, 1977.
[18] www.politik-forum.at Political Discussion Platform for Austria.
[19] Herman Nitsch: Orgien Mysterien Theater/Orgies Mystery Theater, März Verlag, Darmstadt, 1969, p. 297.
[20] Fritz Billeter, Tages-Anzeiger, Zurich, July 12, 1974, Letter to the editor in Neues Forum, Vienna, Sept./Oct. 1974, p. 4.
[21] www.politik-forum.at Political Discussion Platform for Austria.
[22] Letter to the editor by Lore Jarosch, Neue Kronen Zeitung, August 4, 1998, p. 20.
[23] Dr. Rudolf Scholten: Opening Speech, Styrian Autumn, Graz, Oct. 2, 1992.
[24] Dr. Rudolf Scholton, Minister für Culture, Die Presse, Sept. 14, 1992.
[25] “Salut für den Meister,” News, 32/95, Vienna.
[26] “Kultur-Alarm,” News, No. 16, 1999, p. 140.
[27] Josef Dvorak: “Amoklauf der Aktionisten,” Neues Forum, Sept./Oct. 1974, Nos. 249/250, Vienna, p. 2.
[28] Fritz Rumler: “Exhibitionisten an die Front,” Der Spiegrel, No. 17, 21, 1969. p. 194.
[29] Peter Weibel, Valie Export: Wien, Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970; Speech at the University of Vienna, June, 7, 1968.
[30] performance-art-research.de/AndereTexte.htm; Beschreibung von VALIE EXPORT in: http://www.urban-infill.com/asemie2.htm, 20.02.2004.
[31] Oswald Wiener: „Über Kunst und Automatentheorie: Ein Gespräch mit Stan Lafleur“; Textauszug aus: Eckhard Hammel, Hrsg., Synthetische Welten. Kunst, Künstlichkeit und Kommunikationsmedien, Essen, Verlag der Blaue Eule, 1996, p. 199-213.
[32] Helmut Butterweck of Die Furche, a Catholic weekly in Vienna, to Herbert Kuhner in 2000.
[33] Fritz Dammbeck in the film The Master Game, Germany, 1998.
[34] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p 174.
[35] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, cover blurb.
[36] Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof: “Ein Echter Österreicher,“ Profil, No. 8, Feb. 16, 1998, p. 102.
[37] Manfred Seeh: Mühl-Kommune: “Rund 18 Millionen Schilling ‚Schweigegeld‘ an Zeugen,“ Die Presse, Vienna, Feb. 10, 1998, p. 10.
[38] Rudolf Scholten, News magazine, No. 18, April 1997, p. 15, quoted from Gerhard Praschak’s suicide note.
[39] Ibid.
[40] Rudolf Scholten, Profil, No. 11, 8, March 8, 2004, p. 147.