the actionists

Gunter Brus

Born on 27 September 1938 in Ardning in Styria.

As a graduate of the Graz School of Applied Arts, Brus realised his first action in 1964 with “Ana”, in which the human body was used as artistic material. This marked the transition from the informal to the so-called “self-paintings”. These were followed in 1965 by the “Self-Mutilations”, in which Brus used his own body as artistic material. His sensational “Vienna Walk” took place on 5 July 1965. In 1966, he took part in the “Destruction in Art Symposium” in London. After Brus was sentenced to six months in prison for the “Art and Revolution” action in 1968, he fled to Berlin in 1969. His last and most radical action, “Zerreissprobe”, took place in Munich in 1970. He then returned to drawing and his lyrical work.

Brus dies in Graz in February 2024.

Günter Brus, Selbstbemalung I,
(Hand painting – head painting – head repainting),
December 1964, b/w photography, 23 x 18 cm
Studio John Sailer, Opernring 21, 1010 Vienna
Photo: Ludwig Hoffenreich.

Otto Muehl

Otto Muehl was born on 16 June 1925 in Grodnau in Burgenland. 
In the summer of 1944, Muehl was sent to the front. The traumatic experiences of the war left a lasting impression on him. In 1952, he graduated as a teacher of German and history and began studying art education at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

In 1960, his first solo exhibition took place at the Junge Generation Gallery. From 1964, Muehl concentrated on the realisation of his actionist work, with which he wanted to de-taboo socially repressed aspects of human nature through the use of human bodies and the staging of sexuality, death and birth. Muehl was one of the participants in “Art and Revolution” on 7 June 1968 at the University of Vienna.

In 1972, he founded the action-analytical organisation, the AAO Kommune am Friedrichshof. The commune at Friedrichshof disbanded in 1988. Muehl is charged with the sexual abuse and rape of children and adolescents.

In 1991, he is sentenced to seven years in prison “for sexual offences, indecency with minors up to and including rape, offences against the Narcotics Act and witness tampering”. While in prison, he created an extensive body of paintings and literary works.

Muehl dies in Portugal in 2013.

Otto Muehl, Materialaktion Nr. 19, Bodybuilding
May 21, 1965, Colour photography, 115 x 80 cm
Atelier Muehl, Perinetgasse 1, 1200 Vienna
Photo: Ludwig Hoffenreich

Hermann Nitsch

Hermann Nitsch was born in Vienna on 29 August 1938. 
From 1957 to 1957, he studied at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna. At the age of almost twenty, he developed the comprehensive concept for his Gesamtkunstwerk of the Orgien Mysterien Theatre, which was to define his life’s work. He wanted to address all aspects of life, including the painful, painful and violent ones, in order to bring them into an artistic form.

In 1960, his first painting actions took place in front of an audience at the Technical Museum in Vienna. 
In 1962, real animal blood was used as artistic material for the first time. From 1960 to 1979, Nitsch exclusively used the colour red for his paintings. At the end of the 1960s, he developed the colour theory of the Orgien Mysterien Theater.

In 1971, Prinzendorf Castle became the central venue for the Orgies Mysteries Theatre.
From 1975, the first 24-hour play takes place in Prinzendorf. In 1984 a three-day play and in 1998 the six-day play. Nitsch realises a total of 160 actions and 96 painting actions. In 2005, Nitsch realised his 122nd action at the Burgtheater in Vienna.


In his late work, Nitsch concentrates more on painting again, in addition to further developing his music and action theatre. In 2021, he staged a large-scale painting action for the Bayreuth Festival’s “Walküre”.

On April 18, 2022, Nitsch dies in Mistelbach after a serious illness.

Hermann Nitsch, 4. Aktion
November 21, 1963, Colour photography, 130 x 130 cm
Atelier Nitsch, Brünner Straße 132, 1210 Vienna
Photo: Ludwig Hoffenreich

Rudolf Schwarzkogler

Rudolf Schwarzkogler was born in Vienna on 13 November 1940. 
From 1957, he studied at the Graphic Arts Teaching and Research Institute in Vienna, which he left in 1961 without graduating. In 1963 he did his military service. In 1964, he took part as an actor in Otto Muehl’s “Luftballonkonzert” (Balloon Concert) in his basement studio on Perinetgasse in Vienna. In 1965, he took part in Hermann Nitsch’s 7th and 8th actions.

On 6 February 1965, he carried out his first own action, “Hochzeit” (Wedding).

Between 1968 and 1969, the artist became increasingly involved with the spiritual teachings and practices of the East. In this context, he undertook excessive fasting cures without medical supervision, which put him under great physical and psychological strain. Schwarzkogler became increasingly preoccupied with the relativity of the perceptible.

On June 20, 1969, Schwarzkogler falls out of the window of his flat and succumbs to his injuries immediately afterwards.

Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Untitled, Gekreuzigter
c. 1962, ink, oil crayon on wood, 23.3 x 17.4 x 6 cm

Wed. – Sun. and on public holidays
11:00 AM – 6:00 Pm

Monday and Tuesday Closed

OPENING
MARCH 15, 2024
5:00 PM

We are Open

OPENING MARCH 15, 2024
5:00 PM

We are Open

Wed. – Sun. and on public holidays 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Monday and Tuesday Closed

Copyright 2024 WA-M Wiener Aktionismus Museum GmbH

Copyright 2024 WA-M Wiener Aktionismus Museum GmbH

Kalender & Termine

Jetzt offen

Eröffnungsausstellung

Was ist Wiener Aktionismus?

Gunter Brus

Otto Muehl

Hermann Nitsch

Rudolf Schwarzkogler

15.03.2024 – 31.01.2025

Termine & Veranstaltungen

April 2024

14. April, Sonntag, 16:00 Uhr

offentliche Fuhrung

25. April, Donnerstag, 18:30 Uhr

WAM-TALK

WAS IST WIENER AKTIONISMUS?

Im Gespräch mit WAM-Direktorin Julia Moebus-Puck, die über die Idee und das Konzept der Ausstellung spricht. Anschliessend stellt sich die Direktorin den Fragen des interessierten Publikums zur Ausstellung.

hier anmelden

27. April, Samstag, 11:00 Uhr

Direktorinnenfuhrung

28. April, Sonntag, 16:00 Uhr

offentliche Fuhrung auf Englisch

Mai 2024

1. Mai, Mittwoch, 16:00 Uhr

WERK DES MONATS

Hermann Nitsch, 4. Aktion, 21. November 1963

WAM-Direktorin und Nitsch Expertin Julia Moebus-Puck erklärt Hintergründe und Entstehungsgeschichte des Frühwerks von Hermann Nitsch, das auch in der Ausstellung zu sehen ist.

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11. Mai, Samstag, 11:00 Uhr

Direktorinnenfuhrung

12. Mai, Sonntag, ab 11:00 Uhr

Muttertag

Zu Muttertag laden wir alle Familien ein, einen Streifzug durch das Museum zu machen. Wir werden uns u.a. die verschiedenen Maltechniken der vier Wiener Aktionisten anschauen, Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede herausarbeiten und bei den Farben und Formen ganz genau hinsehen.

12. Mai, Sonntag, 11:00 Uhr

Mitmachfuhrung

Mitmachführung für Kinder ab 6 Jahren in ausgewählten Themenbereichen des Museums. Wir entdecken gemeinsam den unterschiedlichen Umgang mit Farbe und Form bei den Wiener Aktionisten.

Dauer: 60 Minuten
Die Führung ist im Eintrittspreis enthalten.
hier anmelden

12. Mai, Sonntag, 14:00 Uhr

Elternfuhrung

Führung für die Eltern, speziell Mütter und Großmütter durch das gesamte Haus.

Dauer: 60 Minuten
Die Führung ist im Eintrittspreis enthalten.
hier anmelden

12. Mai, Sonntag, 16:30 Uhr

Der Wiener Aktionismus im Wandel der Zeit.
Was kann uns der Aktionismus heute noch sagen?

Spezialführung für Jugendliche und Erwachsene ab 16 Jahren.

Dauer: 60 Minuten
Die Führung ist im Eintrittspreis enthalten.
hier anmelden

14. Mai, Dienstag, 18:00 Uhr

mumok visits WAM

25. Mai, Samstag, 11:00 Uhr

Direktorinnenfuhrung

26. Mai, Sonntag, 16:00 Uhr

offentliche Fuhrung auf Englisch

Jetzt offen

Eröffnungsausstellung

Was ist Wiener Aktionismus?

Gunter Brus

Otto Muehl

Hermann Nitsch

Rudolf Schwarzkogler

15.03.2024 – 31.01.2025

We are open

opening exhibition

What is Vienna Actionism?

Gunter Brus

Otto Muehl

Hermann Nitsch

Rudolf Schwarzkogler

15.03.2024 – 31.01.2025

We Are Open

Opening exhibition

What is Vienna Actionism?

Gunter Brus

Otto Muehl

Hermann Nitsch

Rudolf Schwarzkogler

15.03.2024 – 31.01.2025

Dates & Events

April 2024

April 13, Saturday, 11:00 AM

Director’s tour

April 13, Saturday, 3:00 PM

Curator’s tour

April 14, Sunday, 4:00 PM

Public guided Tour

April 25, Thursday, 6:30 PM

WAM-TALK

What is Vienna Actionism?

In conversation with WAM Director Julia Moebus-Puck, who talks about the idea and concept of the exhibition. Afterwards, the director will answer questions from the interested public about the exhibition.

register here

April 27, Saturday, 11:00 AM

Director’s tour

April 28, Sunday, 4:00 PM

Public guided Tour in English

May 2024

May 1, Wednesday, 4:00 PM

WORK of the Month

Hermann Nitsch, 4. Aktion, November 21, 1963

WAM director and Nitsch expert Julia Moebus-Puck explains the background and genesis of Hermann Nitsch’s early work, which is also on display in the exhibition.

register here

May 11, Saturday, 11:00 AM

Director’s tour

May 12, Sunday, from 11:00 AM

Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, we invite all families to take a walk through the museum. Among other things, we will look at the different painting techniques of the four Viennese Actionists, work out similarities and differences and take a close look at the colours and shapes.

May 12, Sunday, 11:00 AM

Hands-on guided tour

Hands-on tour for children aged 6 and over in selected themed areas of the museum. Together we discover how differently the Vienna Actionists dealt with colour and form.

Duration: 60 minutes
The guided tour is included in the admission price.
register here

May 12, Sunday, 2:00 PM

Guided tour for parents

Guided tour for parents, especially mothers and grandmothers, through the entire house.

Duration: 60 minutes
The guided tour is included in the admission price.
register here

May 12, Sunday, 4:30 PM

Vienna Actionism through the ages.
What can Actionism still tell us today?

Special guided tour for young people and adults aged 16 and over..

Duration: 60 minutes
The guided tour is included in the admission price.
register here

May 14, Tuesday, 6:00 PM

mumok visits WAM

May 25, Saturday, 11:00 AM

Director’s tour

May 26, Sunday, 4:00 PM

Public guided Tour in English