Violence Under the Guise of Art

or Third Reich Recycling

 by Herbert Kuhner



“Blasphemy, obscenity, charlatanism, sadistic excesses, orgies, the aesthetics of the cesspool are our moral means.[1] That includes rape and murder.[2] Murder is an integral part of sex. [3] It will soon become an ethical necessity to rob banks and to shoot a random cripple down.” [4]

- Otto Mühl, Actionist


“I knew a university professor named Stephan Koren. He was cripple and wanted to convince me that he was a man like me.…This scum of the nation fills every healthy Austrian with such dread that the pupils of his eyes would burst at the sight.”[5]  

- Peter Weibel, Actionist, Culture Commissar 


“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. When I knock the pot of wax over with my head the bird’s head is inundated and my right hand is doused.” [6]

- Valie Export, Actionist & designer of the anti-fascistic monument in Allentsteig, Lower Austria


 “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.” [7]

- Der Spiegel, March 1, 2004


But if you observe him now, you see the members of the group who remained with him. I would like to be a part of it; they are having fun…something’s really happening there…. I saw that the women were happy ....I am the patron of an organization against sexual abuse (Power4me).[8]

- Dagmar Koller, musical comedy star, concerning Otto Mühl


 “Mühl’s specialty is minors and sex, and my specialty is the agonizing torture of animals....I could well envision that murder could be a component of a work of art.[9] Killing was and is beyond all moral judgments. [10]    

[1] Transparent Spezial, ORF (Austrian Radio), May 8, 1996.

[2] 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.

[3] Fritz Rumler:” Ein Problem der Umweltverschmutzung?,“ Der Spiegel, 1968 (exact date illegible), Frankfurt,  p. 254

[4] Josef Dvorak: “Amoklauf der Aktionisten,“ Neues Forum, Sept./Oct. 1974, Nos. 249/250, p. 2.

[5] Peter Weibel, Valie Export: Wien, Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970; Speech at the University of Vienna, June, 7, 1968.

[6]; Beschreibung von VALIE EXPORT in:, 20.02.2004.

[7] Jürgen Kremb: „Opfer der Kommine“ Der Spiegel, No. 10, March 1, 2004, p. 156.

[8] Barbara Stöckl, ORF (Austrian TV), April 11, 2013, 11 p.m.

[9] Falter 24-30, 7, No. 30, 1998, p. 18.

[10] 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.


- Hermann Nitsch, Actionist


“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.”[1]

- Otto Mühl


 “Nitsch is the greatest animal lover I know. I was present in the Nitsch household at his home when his swatted a mosquito and caused a major marital crisis. Nitsch gave vent to his anger over the senseless death of this living thing.”[2]

- Danielle Spera, Museum Director


“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.’”[3]

- Lore Jarosch, author


 “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.”[4]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.”[5] Killing was and is beyond all moral judgments.”[6]

- Hermann Nitsch


“We guarantee Nitsch the protection of the state for practicing his profession freely.”[7]

- Dr. Peter Wittmann, Austrian State Secretary for Culture


 “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.”[8]

- Oswald Wiener, author and Actionist


[1] Andreas Schlothauer, Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität p. 122.

[2] Danielle Spera: Hermann Nitsch. Leben und Arbeit, Brandstätter, Vienna 2002. p. 9.

[3] Letter to the editor by Lore Jarosch, Neue Kronen Zeitung,  August 4, 1998, p. 20.

[4] 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.

[5] Falter 24-30, 7, No. 30, 1998, p. 18.

[6] 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.

[7] “Kultur-Alarm,” News, No. 16, 1999, p. 140.

[8] 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.


“If we don’t prosper, the world will be blown up.”[1]Take your cock out! Exhibitionists to the fore! ... We will beat citizens until they become human beings.”[2]

- Peter Weibel, Actionist and Culture Commissar


“In other words, in the cultural scene one can give vent to Nazi-type barbarity under a Leftist banner.” [3]

- Fritz 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


“In my view there is a Bidermeier-like silence concerning this topic. It is good that you have broken through it.” [4]


“The new fascism will not declare itself as fascism, but rather as anti-fascism.”

- Ignazio Silone


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.

[1] Josef Dvorak: “Amoklauf der Aktionisten,” Neues Forum, Sept./Oct. 1974, Nos. 249/250, Vienna, p. 2.

[2] Fritz Rumler: “Exhibitionisten an die Front,” Der Spiegrel,  No. 17, 21, 1969.  p. 194.

[3] Fritz Dammbeck in the film The Master Game, Germany, 1998.

[4] Kuno Knöbl. March 3, 2004, Düsenberg; En Route Herbert Kuhner, Film by  Fritz Kleibel, 2014.