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Otto Mühl Exhibit in the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, 


“Otto Mühl: Life/Art/Work Action Utopia Painting 1960 –2004”

(Original title: Life as a Work of Art)

March 3 – May 31, 2004


MAK Board of Trustees:
Andreas Treichl, Chairman (Bank Austria, Director)

Rudolf  Scholten Vice-Chairman (Kontroll-Bank, Director,)


Otto Mühl is one of the most important artists of the post-war period.[1]

- Peter Noever, MAK Director


Mühl never has, never had sex the commune with small children. If Otto Mühl slept with 13- to 14-year old girls, has as been alleged, this resulted from adhering to an idea, and not a perverted idea.  We thought that one is very ripe at thirteen.[2]

- Danielle Rousselle, Otto Mühl Archive, Paris


We are dealing with the artistic work of Otto Mühl ... The exhibit is necessary in order to determine who Otto Mühl is.[3] On the other hand, these elements cannot be separated from each other.[4]

- Peter Noever


The ‘moral-attackers’ look a bit ridiculous as they bang the same heads against the same wall decade after decade.[5]

- Rudolf Scholten, MAK Board of Trustees





Herbert Kuhner

Violence Under the Guise of Art

or The Fourth Reich of Savagery in the Arts


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

- Ignazio Silone


Blasphemy, obscenity, charlatanism, sadistic excesses, orgies, the aesthetics of the cesspool are our moral means.[6] Murder is an integral part of sex.[7] It will soon become an ethical necessity to rob banks and to shoot a random cripple down.[8]

- Otto Mühl, actionist


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]    

- Hermann Nitsch, actionist


We have learned from Hermann Nitsch. We have begun to understand him....Now we think more profoundly. Only the adherents of National Socialism do not understand him.

- Alfred Worm, editor-in-chief of News.[11]


Viennese actionism can no longer be the basis for dispute in a civilized state; it has been canonized for quite some time and has found its place in museums. Today anyone who opposes actionism simply disqualifies himself.[12]

- Sigrid Löffler, critic


We guarantee Nitsch the protection of the state for practicing his profession freely.

- Dr. Peter Wittmann Austrian State Secretary for Culture.[13]


If we don’t prosper, the world will be blown up.[14]

- Peter Weibel, actionist and Cultural Commissar



After World War II a thorough purge of National Socialism failed to take place in Austria. According to legend, the post-war literary leftovers were displaced by an “anti-fascist” literary movement in the Fifties. The actionists composed part of that movement. Those who had served a barbarous regime were replaced by those who favored the public practice of barbarism. And they have held sway ever since. After the collapse of the Third Reich its spirit merely reasserted itself in another ambiance.


Violence has been integrated into the arts and poses as a protest against violence.


In order to retrieve the lost honor of the Third Reich, the Nazis deny the reality of the gas chambers, but being what they are, declare their intent to do a thorough job the next time around. The revisionists are less candid and more sophistic.


The revisionists are the “respectable” heirs to the National Socialists, and they act as their apologists. Their aim is to rehabilitate the Third Reich and to exonerate those who participated in barbarism. The revisionists mitigate the barbarism of the Third Reich but condemn the barbarism of the actionists.


Actionism has been integrated into anti-fascism in Austria. Thus the apologists for National Socialism can assume a holier-than-thou stance and can score easy points against the “anti-fascists.” Those who do not favor the sado-masochistic extravaganzas of the actionists are inhibited about expressing their views since they fear being linked to the unsavory elements that vent their opposition. I quote the sociologist Michael Ley: “The ‘anti-fascist’ label seemed to insure immunity from any criticism and every critic was classified as a ‘fascist.’”[15]


The battle in the Austrian news media concerning the Third Reich is to a great extent being waged by the revisionists, who strive to improve the Reich's “image” and those who are exploiting the Holocaust for their own purposes. The National Socialists mostly practiced barbaric acts in venues shielded from public view. While committing crimes, they wanted to present a decent and honorable image to the world. Today the word “decent” is used as a Nazi code word. This is part of a tradition. Heinrich Himmler: “We all know what it is like to see  a hundred corpses lie side by side, or five-hundred corpses, or a thousand; to have remained decent after having participated  in this, that is a page of honor in the history of Germany that can never be written.”[16]


A revisionist is not opposed to violence per se, he simply assumes the role critic when its perpetrators and advocates are associated with another political camp. Advocates and practitioners of violence in Austria can be found marching in the front ranks of the Austrian anti-fascist faction and are cashing in on the situation. What a blessing for the revisionists! They are being served the best cards on a silver tray, enabling them to flay present events as well as play down the past.


According the artist Adolf Frohner: “The actionists remonstrated against the silence that followed 1945. Influential positions were still occupied by those who had held them during the Nazi era. Their Swastika badges were either pinned under their lapels or had been thrown away.”[17]


Sometimes the “antidote” is as toxic as the poison.


Hitler had Ernst Röhm and his SA-henchman done away with in June of ‘34. Röhm was Hitler's adversary, but he was anything but an anti-Nazi. Which goes to show that birds of a feather don't always fly together. That same year, Hitler ordered the murder of Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss. Dollfuss was an anti-Nazi, but not an anti-fascist. It is essential to know what one favors as well as what one opposes.


When Josef Goebbels publicized the Soviet massacre of Polish officers in Katyn in 1941, he did so because it fit into his concept. We know that he was not opposed to massacres, for the murders he was responsible for and approved of were million-fold.


Demagogues don't always have to lie. They tell the truth when it serves their purposes.


A demagogue cannot turn a lie into the truth, nor can he turn the truth into a lie.


No liar lies all the time. Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day.


It is impossible for me to deal with Austrian actionism without referring to my own fate as a remigré. As one who had to flee Austria, or rather “Ostmark,” in 1939 or share the fate of those who chose to stay or could not leave, I have aversion to the gratuitous stifling of life, wanton brutality and the degradation of man as well as the desecration of religious cult objects. After I had returned to Austria in 1963, I was confronted with a closed-door policy as a writer. When I published my satire on actionism, Da-Da Ga-Ga Ca-Ca, in 1972, the key was turned in the lock.[18] I quote Michael Ley: “Only an ostracized outsider discerned what really lay concealed behind the fraudulent phrase ‘anti-fascist art’: the affirmation of totalitarian violence and not its censure.”[19]


In art and literature it becomes more and more difficult to separate the sheep from the goats, in other words: valid artists from charlatans. It's all a matter of opinion. (In my humble opinion, the goats gained the upper hand long ago, and their bleating is the dominant sound.) However, public “actions” such as the flagellation of self and others, the drinking of blood and urine, the eating of feces, copulation to the accompaniment of fecal production, self-mutilation, self-immolation and tormenting animals to death are actions that I for one could not keep silent about. Examples: Valie Export poured scalding wax over live birds.[20] Günter Brus slit his chest open with a razor blade[21] and declared that the next step would be to cut a piece of himself off and eat it. Rudolf Schwarzkogler committed suicide as a ritualistic act of self-immolation. It is alleged that he his penis off before defenstrating himself.[22]


These actions are engaged in and supported by the Austrian cultural elite, la crème de la crème, and meet the approval of those in power as well as those aspiring power. The promoters of the actionists are very skillful and well versed in the art of sophistry. Those who are not proponents or fellow travelers have been cowed and usually keep mum. They comprise an integral part of the anti-fascist scene. And some fear that an open discussion will weaken the anti-fascist faction.


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


In this topsy-turvy situation, “artists” advocating and engaging in violence are sacrosanct, and they have been sanctioned by the State.


The question is whether mendacity and calumny can serve a good purpose. I answer that in the negative. Clarification is long overdue. And I say: Let the chips fall where they may!


The Nazis destroyed human values as well as humans. They attempted to cancel art and literature out, replacing it with an antiseptic and illustrative depiction of the glories of motherhood and military heroism, as well as family, farming and factory scenes. Basically National-Socialist art, or non-art, consisted of a sham portrayal of the patriotic love of Mother Earth and the Fatherland.


The scurrilous, sado-masochistic, anti-humanistic, murderous elements in the anti-Semitic tracts, cartoons and propaganda films are rarely to be found in official National-Socialist art. Thus the lie of illustrative Nazi non-art was doublefold. The lie was intended to reflect a movement and society that were “wholesome.” It does not bring to the fore what National Socialism was really about. Actionist art, or anti-art if you will, provides what is missing. It is indeed more honest. And one could make a plea for it being representative of the society in which it is entrenched. It is revealing that those who have literally defecated on the state have achieved the highest status as state artists. Today opposing actionism is tantamount to opposing the state.


The Nazis catered to sado-masochistic tastes, with the emphasis on sadism. The Third Reich provided its adherents with the opportunity of living out their sadistic fantasies. The concentration camps and other murderous venues were a Paradise for sadistic camp commanders, administrators, guards, capos and Death’s Head SS-Men.


With the exception of the Kristallnacht, the pogrom of November 9, 1938, barbarous acts usually took place behind locked doors, closed gates and barbed wire, or in subjugated countries.


The Nazis wanted to be known as brave warriors, not the mass murderers of helpless civilians. While behaving dishonorably, they wanted to convey an honorable image. Thus, after World War II right up to the present, the official Nazi line is to deny the Holocaust by promulgating the so-called “Auschwitz lie.” And Neo-Nazis still stick to this while they engage in acts of terror against refugees, members of minority groups and those who aid them in Germany and Austria.


Revisionism is the close cousin of dialectical materialism. It is an attempt to change the past by rewriting history. Revisionists, as we know, are not opposed to violence. The business of the revisionist is to play down, minimize and belie the barbarity of the Third Reich. He merely opposes violence when the perpetrators belong to another political camp.


The revisionists present themselves as the foes of those who engage in actionist extravaganzas. The actionists and their advocates declare that they do what they do in order to combat fascism. Opposition by the revisionist faction is opportune and fits into the scheme of things. The syllogism used is that since condemnation comes from the revisionists, all adversity must be associated with revisionism. Thus the advocates of actionism have very skillfully maneuvered the apologists for fascism into a position of not having to be mendacious concerning this subject.


Those who feel uneasy about this situation are usually afraid of being labeled as fascists if they speak out. And speaking out can have its consequences, since it means countering power and influence. Regretfully, in this topsy-turvy situation, those who utter criticism of public actionist cruelty are not to be found on the Left, but rather on the Right. Thus, opposing violence under the guise of art is “synonymous” to favoring fascism in present-day Austria.


Closed books are more dangerous than open books.


The present is a key to the past, as well as vice versa. The revisionist faction is an open book, but accurate historical perception can only be achieved if the closed books are opened.


The pernicious spirit of National Socialism has been channeled into the arts, and it is clearly expressed in the arts. Its advocates operate under the sanctified carapace of art.


There is a route to the inner sanctum for artists who conform to the trend, as well as other artists who are well on in years. The latter have the prospect of being exploited in their remaining years and having their work sold at high prices posthumously. Assent includes engaging in actions that make one subject to blackmail. A prominent promoter told an artist who refused to comply that divulging information could result in assassination.


A brotherhood in evil holds perpetrators together, just as blood served as an agglutinate for the SS.


In the film Das Meisterspiel (The Master Game) directed by Lutz Dammbeck, he and Helmut Kohlenberger draw parallels between two quotations. One stems from a letter by the anonymous self-proclaimed perpetrator who alleged to have painted over the painted-over paintings of Arnulf Rainer: “I decided to become an actionist.” The other is a phrase from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf : “I decided to become a politician.” Kohlenberger: "The cultural scene in which one makes a decision to become an actionist is the structural successor (to National Socialism) ... I believe that the cultural scene, in its entirety, comprises the structural successor to that regime, for it is the only dictatorship which is allowed in this country (Austria). Lutz Dammbeck: "In other words, in the cultural scene one can give vent to Nazi-type barbarity under a Leftist banner.” Kohlenberger: “Here is text that brings to mind that there is a continuity right in the midst of the asserted discontinuity, and right where you might least expect to find it, that is amongst the good old leftist and anti-fascistic artists.”[23]


“An artist recognizes his work when it is sent to his home free of charge via the media.” (From a letter sent to Dr. Michael Sika, the Director of the Security Police, after the letter bomb attack on Dr. Helmut Zilk, the Mayor of Vienna.)[24]


According to Josef Dvorak: ”In a back room of the Mühl Commune on Praterstrasse, Hermann Flasch and others were constructing explosive devices. They planned to send letter bombs to various politicians and institutions, and all traces should lead to Hermann Flasch. The police were to find him dead. The suicide was to be carried out according to an exact ”happening partitur”, and it was to be filmed. In June of 1972, I found out the details Hermann Flasch’s plan....On June 4th Flasch wandered around aimlessly in the Prater Amusement Park in Vienna and called me to ask for help. We arranged to meet on June 8th, and I saw him three times after that.  He showed me the partitur of the suicide happening, which I had previously seen but not understood at the Mühl Commune. I found out the names of others involved in the ”explosive action” ... Beside his body the police found the suicide ”partitur.” The suicide had been carried out exactly according this plan. Days after the body had been discovered, the last of the explosive devices arrived at their addressees. In September of 1973, I wrote an obituary for Neues Forum. Mühl blocked its publication, and he threatened me with consequences if I wrote articles critical of Viennese actionism. I would no longer be able to practice my profession in Austria ... A  few days later their it became clear that the Flasch Case was to be hushed up. The police investigation was superficial and background information did not find its way the into the newspapers. An influential political functionary (unsuccessfully) attempted to prevent an anti-Mühl article from being published in the Arbeiter-Zeitung. Colleagues warned me that there would be ”repercussions” by influential people: I knew too much.”[25]


In the seventies, an American journalist investigated allegations of pedophilia and snuffing. He asserted that he was unable to proceed due to political blocking.


It stood to reason that a man who had publicly copulated while wallowing in excrement,[26] a man who had decapitated a goose and used the neck to penetrate a woman[27] was suited to direct a commune and be the guardian of children. There he reigned for almost two decades while the funding flowed in and praise came from the highest places.


Bruno Kreisky: “...my friend the great painter, perhaps the best we have in Austria.[28] 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.”[29]


Kreisky concerning the Commune: “From a liberal point of view, we have no choice but to let these young people go their way.[30] We must offer this experiment protection against being attacked by the press, above all by German papers.”[31]


Other politicians who vociferously supported the Commune are Theodor Kery, Hilde Hawlicek, Karl Blecha and Helmut Zilk.[32]


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.


Here are quotations by the leader of the Commune. “Everything is worthy of presentation....That includes rape and murder.”[33] “Coitus, torture and the annihilation of man and beast is the only drama worth viewing.....Murder is an integral part of sex. House pets have to serve as surrogates. I intend to commit the perfect murder on a goat that will serve as a substitute for a woman.[34] In my next films humans will be slaughtered. Slaughtering humans must not continue to be a monopoly of the state. It will soon become an ethical necessity to rob banks and to shoot a random cripple down.[35] 


Austrian Cultural Commissar Peter Weibel about a political figure, who happens to have been a man of integrity: “I knew a university professor called 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 Koren 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.”[36]


More by Weibel: ”The true heroes of freedom are those who commit crimes run amuck and assassinate. It is only possible for man to realize himself by running amuck, by murder and by assassination….I would be glad if I had the strength to act like the assassins and those who run amuck. These are exceptional human achievements for me.”[37]


Oswald Wiener: “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.”[38]


Hermann Nitsch: “I could well envision that murder could be a component of a work of art; the artist’s accountability would be on another level.…Thus, art can consist of a crime.”[39] Killing was and is beyond all moral judgments.”[40]


Here we have the ideological basis for “snuffing” as a component of art.   


Otto Mühl’s credo:

The Friedrichshof Lord’s Prayer

Long live the whole!

I must resist temptation to sin against the whole

in sex as well as with my belongings

and in thought and deed.

Everything must be for the good of the whole.

I will terminate the program

that has been impressed on me

by strange ethical persons

and transform it into a social program

for the good of the whole.

I think, work, act and feel

exclusively for the whole.

Without the whole I am nothing.[41]


Here’s more “I consider the adults as just a food the children. My plan would be, 5,000 children with the adults renouncing happiness and merely earn money here close, so this can be built up. The only purpose is to change oneself. A relationship between two people is a thing of the past, no more private feelings, you dismantle everything and there is no longer a fixation on money. You serve only one en: Project third generation. The children of the third generation who are better than everyone, humans the like of which the world has never seen.”[42]


Does this bring Lebensborn to mind? Lebensborn was the Nazi breeding ground for the Master race.


Otto Mühl about himself: “I am probably the most vain man under God’s Heaven....Caesar, Napoleon, Stalin, Lenin and Hitler accomplished great things that are still spoken about in either a negative or a positive sense; the most important aim in life should be to be talked about. Life would have no meaning without that.…Being world-famous is marvelous. Otherwise life would be asinine. I wouldn’t be able to bear not being renowned. I am famous and I will become more famous. Even if I hadn’t become famous through actionism, I’d have achieved fame through the Commune.”[43]


Certainly it cannot be denied that Otto Mühl achieved his aims.


Otto Mühl about his colleagues: “Nitsch is a sadist with a mania for approbation, an autistic alcoholic who’s completely narcissistic, 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.”[44]


Nitsch about his colleague: “Mühl’s specialty is minors and sex and my specialty is the agonizing torture of animals.”[45]


As a fledgling “actionist” Mühl enjoyed the support of the late Monsignor Otto Mauer. Mauer along with Bishop Alois Hudal who was located at the Vatican, was a member of the Rat Line and aided escaping Nazis, as well as those who remained in Austria. Among  Mauer’s protégés was former Third Reich publicist Otto Schulmeister,[46] who in turn supported Mauer. Mauer and Schulmeister collaborated as editors on the Catholic cultural monthly Wort und Wahrheit together, which they founded in the Fifties.


Otto Schulmeister, 1989: “There were many swine at the time, not only brown ones.”[47] Asked whether he regretted what he had written during the Third Reich in National Socialist organs, he replied: "Not in the least!”[48]


Otto Mauer, pater familias of the actionists, was the official Catholic “caretaker of souls” for artists.


Otto Mauer in 1948, the years after the Holocaust: “The Jews have immense influence on communism and capitalism. They pass themselves off as defenders of humanity...but they are nothing but a depraved people with a perverted spirit....They have been condemned to eternal damnation....They invariably choose the evil path.”[49]


Later Mauer was more conciliatory. In 1949 he wrote: “There is a solution to the Jewish problem, but just one: the Jews must recognize Christ as the Messiah, the heathens must become Christians…”[50]


Otto Mauer, during the Third Reich: “The artist is in league with the devil, either as one possessed or as an exorcist.”[51]


Mauer to artist Günther Kraus: “A good Catholic cannot be a good artist.”[52]


Mauer labeled the object-artist Padhi Friebeger as a heretic. Then he offered to promote Frieberger if he joined the Catholic Church.[53]


Josef Dvorak about Otto Mauer: “He thought that Otto Mühl and Hermann Nitsch were much better suited to his gallery than mine. That is why his intrigue against me was unlimited.”[54]


On April 17, 1967, Mühl along with Oswald Wiener and Peter Weibel presented

an actionist performance in Mauer’s Gallery St. Stephan. [55] (This was followed by the sado-masochistic extravaganza at the University of Vienna on June 7th.) Mühl had made a name for himself by engaging in public fecal orgies.[56] These were to serve as the basis for the "failed experiment."


Otto Mühl: “Democracy is a load of shit!”[57]


Here's a description of a visit to the Commune by dramatist Peter Turrini: “The first time I was able to generate the sympathy of the group was by a matricide. I performed a ritualistic matricide and I screamed, shouted, cried, pissed and shat, disintegrating completely and yet at the same time, acting and experiencing murder, which was always combined, the end and I lay there, naked and sweating and sobbing, they approached me and caressed me and said. 'That was insanely pleasant,' and it really was, for who, after all, is the real murderer of his mother? My introduction to the group was a matricide.”[58]


Ex-Commune member Andreas Schlothauer: “Most of the former members of the commune know that Otto Mühl abused girls whose ages ranged 12 to 16. He practiced what was known in the Middle Ages as ‘jus primae noctis’, however Mühl extended this right for weeks or months.”[59]


When members of the commune rebelled, it was the revisionist yellow press that brought him down. Liberal elements either defended him or stayed on the sidelines.


(Concerning revisionistic dogma, it must be stated here that those who attempt to downplay the murder of one-and-a-half million children in the death factories of the Third Reich are not  against the abuse of children per se.)


Among those who countered criticism of the Commune was Peter Sichrovsky, who was employed by Mühl as a PR-advisor. Sichrovsky acted as Mühl’s champion with articles such as Das Sonenenreich des Aktionisten (The Sunny Realm of the Actionist).[60]


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 (not related to Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek). ‘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.’”[61] 


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.”[62]


After his incarceration, Mühl was honored by two highly-subsidized exhibits under the aegis of Ursula Pasterk, Municipal Cultural Coordinator of the City of Vienna. 


Among those colleagues who spoke for him are Christian Ludwig Attersee, Kurt Kalb, Oswald Oberhuber, Arnulf Rainer and Hermann Nitsch who compared him with Egon Schiele.[63] This comparison was also used by Green politician Peter Pilz: “And what about Egon Schiele who served nine sentences in prison?"[64] (Egon Schiele was sentenced once to two weeks in prison for using underage girls as nude models without the consent of their parents.)


Here’s a comment by Heinz Sichrovsky of News: “Mühl was the only artist who attempted in his Commune to realize political utopias of freedom for sex and from possessions. He failed grotesquely and went to prison for seven years.”[65]


However, it should be stated that Otto Mühl tripped up. Usually rolling in feces ultimately means rolling in dough with no problems.


Indeed, Otto Mühl was rewarded after his release from prison by having a "dramolette" performed at Claus Peymann's Burgtheater on February 12, 1998 with support from Peter Turrini, Christian Ludwig Attersee and Einar Schleef. An exhibit of Mühl's prison paintings opened on February 18, 1998 at the Austrian Museum of Applied Art in Vienna.


Claus Peymann emphatically stated that he was justified to place the Burgtheater at Mühl’s disposal since “Mühl had served his sentence.“[66] Mühl’s play Muchl is, among other things, a travesty of the legal system that had found Mühl guilty of the abuse and rape of minors.


Mühl’s remorse for his actions: “I have no feelings of guilt for what I have done.“[67]


Mühl in Die Zeit, February 26, 20004:

“I’m not a child molester. That’s idiotic. They were all fully-developed girls.”

Die Zeit: “They were 12 and 13 years old.”

Mühl: “So what! I allegedly raped one of them. That certainly was not the case. I’m sorry that they are all so devastated. They are victims of the breaking up of the commune, rather than of free sexuality.”[68]


Press Conference, Café Landtmann, Vienna, March 1, 2004 by former members of the Commune: “According to the latest information, Otto Mühl began to abuse small children from the ages of four to five in the 1970s. He did this regularly over the years. Such abuse took place at times in front of the Commune Leadership and was not brought up at Mühl’s trial in 1991….In a conversation that took place five months Frau (Claudia) Mühl told us that she was now  practicing ’intergenerational exchange of  tenderness.’”[69]


Two young women have come forward with new accusations prior the opening of Mühl-Show in MAK, which they consider to be an attempt to rehabilitate the artist. They claim that Mühl not only abused teenagers, as has already been confirmed, but younger children as well.


In sworn statements the two victims describe how Mühl forced them to participate in sexual actions 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.[70] 


Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof. Profil: “Some gentlemen in high places - we have heard - visited Mühl in order to have themselves served by wild women.[71]


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.[72]


Doubtlessly, not all the notables went to the Commune to be served “wild women,” and what was provided there is now being provided elsewhere.


A cultural personage admitted that pedophilia continues to be practiced in organized artistic circles.


Three decades ago I published Da-Da Ga-Ga Ca-Ca, a satire on actionism. I wrote: “He smeared foodstuffs on nude models. But recently he had changed his act. Symbolic defecation had made way for the real thing. And then there was his friend, another happening man. Slaughtering lambs was his act….This was the dance around the golden calf. No it was the dance around the golden ass. I heard a snorting and sang a giant horned head. It was the Minotaur. Its shaggy beast's body was galloping through the crowd….It was a night on which I had expected murder, suicide and rape. Now all of these things were taking place. I could no longer differentiate one body from another. That thing was one body. It was a body that was committing murder, suicide and rape.“[73]


Allegedly this text caused me to be ostracized, or “Austro-cized,” up to the present. There are writer-colleagues who still refuse to speak to me on account of it, and some more favorably inclined, claim that I aimed at the wrong target. Recent events have not brought about a change in attitude.


If the powers-that-be had taken heed of the warning contained in Da-Da, instead of doing their best to cancel me out as a writer, many members of the Commune, especially those abused as children, would not have suffered permanent damage.


In Menschenrecht (Human Rights) of September of 1992, I wrote: “But there’s no reason for concern. Incarceration does not necessarily mean the end of an artist’s career. Having been on the wrong side of the law can serve as carte blanche for the future.”[74]


Early in 1998 Martin Humer, the “porno hunter,” splashed red paint on a painting by Otto Mühl, which was part of an exhibit in the Vienna Secession titled “The Century of Artistic Freedom.” In the painting, Mühl, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, Mother Teresa and Bishop Kurt Krenn, Humer’s friend and a defender of Groer, are depicted in pornographic poses in comic strip manner. The only thing missing are the dialogue bubbles. It should be added that Groer is alleged to have sexually abused boys under his care. Humer goes about comparing the Third Reich favorably with the present. After the Humer “action,” the value of the Mühl painting increased. Thus, two “defacers” served each other’s purposes.


And Mühl: “I am the apocalypse. I take the route of Michelangelo.“[75]


Right he was! I quote the headline from Der Standard of December 5th, 2001: “The Body, Actionism and Fascism. A French and Austrian exchange of ideas took place in the Louvre on the occasion of the show ‘Painting as a Crime’ concerning everyday fascism and to the resistance potential of art. Otto Mühl appeared as a guest star to reap programmed praise.”[76]


Mühl is a diligent worker and a good assembly-line artist. He and his ilk are the darlings of museum directors. Today the financial aspect in the arts outweighs all others.


Peter Weibel is the cardinal ideologist of the Austrian art scene and a brilliant strategist. During a conversation I had with him in 1968, he stated, “Art can no longer be produced.” He named Andy Warhol as the guru of the Austrian movement and categorized Warhol’s work as non-art, which was the path of the future.


Weibel and his colleagues of the Vienna Group and the Viennese Actionists shared the same approach. They were united in adding then element of violence to what they considered to be non-art. They are the original innovators and their influence had reverberations on the international art scene, and has become dominant over the years. Art and humanistic values have been purged and replaced by non-art and a commitment to practicing cruelty toward man and beast.


Weibel has dedicated his life to purging aestheticism and humanism from art, in other words, destroying the very essence of art, and thus art itself. His thesis is presented in an essay titled “Concerning the Possibility of Non-Affirmative Art.” [77]


Art is being purged of art. Literature is being purged of literature. Culture re is being purged of culture.


But there’s money to be made. In the present setup, the most bankrupt artists have the biggest bank accounts.

One could say that “minimalism” is prevalent. The aim is to make the most perfect zero, and indeed there are many that defy comparison.


Hermann Nitsch: “I have been everything. I was Napoleon, I was Christ, I was Nietzsche, I was Schopenhauer, and I will be everything that is to come.“[78]


And the “truth” is twisted to fit the occasion.


Here is a quote from Profil: "Nitsch, who never slaughtered an animal in his life is constantly referred to as a slaughterer."[79]


Nitsch: “I wouldn’t do anything that would harm a hair on an animal’s head.”[80] And “Mühl’s specialty is minors and sex and my specialty is the agonizing torture of animals.”[81]


And a quote from the Arbeiter-Zeitung: “During a Black Mass the Viennese actionist Günter Brus, 36, his wife Anni, 31, Hermann Nitsch, 36, add Karl Heinz Cibulka slaughtered an Easter lamb in Naples, crucified the animal and smeared themselves with its blood.”[82]


Peter Weibel in Der Standard: “Nitsch appeared wearing the vestments that that a priest uses for the Mass. (Hanel) Koeck, among other things, was bound to a cross and a dildo was placed in her vagina. Then Koeck placed it in Nitsch's mouth. A lacerated sheep, the blood-soaked innards of a hare and an ox were brought into analogy with the woman's body. Then Nitsch copulated symbolically with Koeck with the aid of the dildo.”[83]


And a quote by Nitsch: “What a wonderful cock Rudi (Schwarzkogler) had. Why didn't he bequeath his body to me? It was wasted when Brother Rudi was buried by Monsignor Mauer.”[84] (Rudolf Schwarzkogler committed suicide in 1969 as the final “action.” It is alleged that he cut off his penis before defenstrating himself.[85])


A commemorative exhibit for Schwarzkogler was presented at St. Stephan’s Gallery by Otto Mauer. The poster showed a man with his eyes covered by a bloodstained white blindfold. Thus, his death was presented as a Showbiz event.


Nitsch’s crony Christian Ludwig Attersee concerning his slaughterhouse spectacles in Prinzersdorf: “A combination of Gypsy Baron and Auschwitz.”[86]


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.[87]


Nitsch to Peter Huemer: “I wanted to write a drama that could indeed be performed....I do not regret a single word that I wrote in this drama....There is an ideal partitur and I would like to come close to the ideal partitur, and this will be my first attempt to come close the ideal partitur for the ‘6-Day Feast.’”[88]


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.”[89]


“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.” Dr. Rudolf Scholten, former Austrian Minister of Art.[90] 


A key quotation by Nitsch: “I no longer intend to place a humane corset on my work.”[91]


“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....Killing was, and is, beyond all moral judgments.”[92] “If possible I would prefer to work with human beings, with dead human beings, with corpses to be specific.”[93]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.”[94]


According to a reliable source, he stated his intention of peeling the skin from children's corpses as an "action.” (This makes lampshades come to mind.)


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 Kronenzeitung, 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.’”[95]


(I would like to insert here that I have published numerous polemics critical of the right-wing editorial policy of this tabloid.)


Furthermore, it was stated that the girl was to be penetrated by a wooden penis at a private action. This was to occur with the consent of her parents and that she had previously taken part in such events.


Günther Brus: „Hermann Nitsch stated in an interview on a German channel that we were all guilty of having committed transgressions, but they caught Mühl at it, and now he has to atone for all of us.”


There are many indications that pedophilia and child abuse are continuing to be systematically  practiced in artistic conclaves, but so far no Austrian journalist has been willing to research the matter.


Günter Brus was awarded the Grand Austrian State for Art in 1997; his graphic specialties include a women pierced by wires[96] and a smiling child being penetrated by a horse. The latter is included in a Dorotheum Auction House catalogue.[97] In 1993 the prize-winner-to-be stated in an interview in the Kurier with Karin Kathrein: “I never ate excrement.”[98] In Wien, a book by Peter Weibel and Valie Export documenting and glorifying actionism, there are photographs of Brus doing just that.[99] (Yes, the Austrian Cultural-Cult-Stars occasionally do a bit of fibbing.) This book is a veritable treasure trove. The Austrian cultural elite can be admired therein in flagranti amid blood, urine and feces.


In an exhibit of work by the Viennese Group in 1998, photo collages mocking infants born with gross physical defects were displayed. In one of the collages, a photo of an infant girl with spread legs is shown with a graphic of an erect penis next to it.[100]


“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 [101]


“Nitsch is an interesting and fascinating human being. I could converse with him at hour’s length. I admire his spirit and acuteness.” Bishop Kurt Krenn of St. Pölten.[102]


“Nitsch has gone through process a development and has returned to a normal pattern of behavior. I was irritated by his anti-religious effects and his actionism. I think his artistic productions are great.” Dr. Jörg Haider, chief of the right-wing Freedom Party.[103]


(Haider, by attacking the actionists, has made them sacrosanct. Is this an about face?)


“I admired Nitsch before it was incontestable for a politician. Now that he had directed for the (State) Opera, implacable condemnation has turned into reverence. Apparently everything changes when one works for a reputed house.” Dr. Franz Vranitzky, former Austrian Chancellor.[104]


“The Hermann Nitsch debate has been truncated long ago like the Thomas Bernhard debate, the (Peter) Turrini debate, the Valie Export debate, and I hope the (Claus) Peymann debate. Viennese actionism can no longer be the basis for dispute in a civilized state; it has been canonized for quite some time and has found its place in museums. Today anyone who opposes actionism simply disqualifies himself.” Sigrid Löffler, star literary critic.[105]


(Here’s an additional sample of cultural competence: I quote from a Brockhaus Encyclopedia add: “He who knows much wants to know more.”[106] And: “I never studied at all. I set eyes on a university lecture room for the first time in my life when I entered it as a professor to give a lecture. Marcel Reich Ranicki, star literary critic.[107])


“I have no enemies. Anyone who doesn’t love me is a psychopath.”[108]


“We have learned from Hermann Nitsch. We have begun to understand him....Now we think more profoundly. Only the adherents of National Socialism do not understand him.” Alfred Worm, editor-in-chief of News. [109]


Am I included in that category? I reject Nitsch because I understand him.


In a totalitarian society art stands beyond criticism. Conformity in the arts means that the game is up.


The National Socialists degraded, humiliated, tortured and murdered humans. The actionists degrade, humiliate and abuse themselves and others. They kill animals as an ersatz. The Nazis desecrated religious cult objects as do the actionists. The cross has replaced the Star of David. Hermann Nitsch has repeatedly expressed his wish to substitute human cadavers for animals in his actionist performances.[110] That means we have almost come full swing.


Oswald Wiener: “It was not easy to drink my urine and eat my feces....Long before actionism, (Gerhard) Rühm and (Konrad) Bayer wrote: ‘Defecation and urination are art.’”[111]


“Blood and soil” was the basis Nazi art. This has given way to “blood and feces.”


Blood and fecal art is an excrescence of the Third Reich. 


A man who was to become one of Austria’s foremost cultural functionaries showed his disdain for humanity during the war in Vietnam. He and his cohorts masturbated at an exhibition of photos of injured Vietnamese children. These events are always interpreted, but they do not need an interpretation as far as I am concerned.


Here is a description by Peter Weibel, who participated in the “action” at the University of Vienna on June 7, 1968: “Brus began taking his clothes off, then he climbed onto the podium naked and sang the National Anthem while defecating and masturbating....Then a genuine masochist, whose identity was known to us but not the public, appeared wearing a mask and a bathrobe. He was subsequently whipped (bloody) by Mühl.”[112]


I would like to interject some comparisons.


“There was an incredible witch hunt (After the University Action of 1968). Imagine, in a democracy! Think of what it must have been like for Jews in the past under the fascist system, when in a democracy, people refuse to associate with you and to shake your hand.” Cultural Commissar Peter Weibel.[113]


“I’m a Jew. Spiritually.” Otto Mühl.[114]


“We, the Freedom Party, are treated the way Jews were previously treated. We are the Palestinians of Austria.” Dr. Jörg Haider, Freedom Party chief.[115]


Concerning criticism of Hermann Nitsch: “What is now happening is a linguistic Rostock, which is paving the way for a pogrom atmosphere.” Dr. Rudolf Scholten, former Austrian Minister of Art.[116] (In Rostock in 1992, after the reunification of Germany, neo-Nazis set fire to a building filled with refugees to the applause of bystanders).


In the spring of 1995, an official Austrian exhibit commemorating prominent Austrians who were forced to emigrate was shown at 565 Fifth Avenue in New York. The organizer of the exhibit and co-editor of the accompanying book, The Cultural Exodus from Vienna [117] is Peter Weibel, who is also co-editor of the previously-mentioned Wien. Among the highlights of the latter scholarly work are photos of co-editor Export engaging in fellatio with Weibel. Also featured is the depiction of an event in Cologne organized by Weibel and Export in which bullwhips, coils of barbed wire, beer bottles and ether were used to injure actionists and members of the audience.[118] One of the most revolting aspects of the book is the juxtapositioning of documentary photos of murdered children with photos of Hermann Nitsch actions with innards.[119] Thus, infanticide too is part of Show Biz. Nitsch: “Killing was and is beyond all moral judgments.”[120]


Günter and Anni Brus do not share his view: “Art is free or should be free. The artist, however, has the same ethical and social obligations as any member of society and should be held responsible for his actions in the same way.“[121]


Here is a key statement by Peter Weibel: "If we don’t prosper, the world will be blown up.”[122]


More by Weibel: ”The true heroes of freedom are those who commit crimes run amuck and assassinate. It is only possible for man to realize himself by running amuck, by murder and by assassination….I would be glad if I had the strength to act like the assassins and those who run amuck. These are exceptional human achievements for me.”[123]


Here is a “solution” for a political problem provided by writer Gerhard Roth: “When democracy is endangered, it is legitimate to consider assassination.”[124] Roth to Peter Huemer: ”Hitler grew out of a democratic state and was elected.... Must we wait until there is such a development, until there is a totalitarian situation, before we shoot?”[125]


(A Dutch advocate of this “solution” applied it to right-wing politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002.)


Weibel exposed: “Take your cock out! Exhibitionists to the fore!....We will beat citizens until they become human beings.”[126]


It is self-evident that an article by Richard Nimmerrichter, alias “Staberl” (Pointer), star-columnist of the Kronen-Zeitung, an Austrian tabloid not known to favor liberal causes, appeared on the subject of the exhibit. Weibel’s participation was a great windfall for Staberl and he used it to serve his purposes.[127] 


Staberl and his ilk are the other side of the coin.


In my view, the good work of the scholars who contributed to the book and exhibit has been deprecated and the exiled notables have been compromised rather than commemorated by the participation of "Cultural Commissar" Weibel. My inclusion occurred without my knowledge.


Those who have been victims of barbarism can only be honored by the foes of barbarism. Moral force is the requisite for fighting inhumanity.


In July from July to October of 1997, an exhibit called Masks: Approaching the Shoah was shown at the Jewish Museum of Vienna. The death masks exhibited and matching skulls were used by the Nazis us to show that the facial features and head form of murdered concentration camp inmates “illustrated” inferiority. The masks and skulls were discovered by Patricia Steines in 1991 in cartons located in the attic of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. The skulls were subsequently buried by the Jewish Community Center.


In order to add a bit of color to the exhibit, Valie Export, née Waltraud Höllinger, and Elfriede Jelinek were invited to participate and comment on the exhibition. Cameras were hidden behind some of the masks and every visitor can see himself viewing the masks on a TV monitor located in an adjacent room. This voyeuristic element has the earmarks of a Valie Export brainstorm.


Concurrent to Masks: Approaching the Shoah, an exhibit opened in the Viennese Literature House titled Elfriede Jelinek: Echoes and Masks. The latter is a multimedia monomaniacal spectacle which includes a TV monitor at the bottom of a well. The Jelinek invitation was included in the Museum's mailing packet.


Since Valie Export was invited to submit a design for the monument on Judenplatz some years ago, she has had thoughts about the Holocaust.[128] (Valie Exports anti-fascistic monument in Allentsteig was unveiled on August 28, 1999.) She may be able to contribute a valid analysis since violence plays a primary role in her work. From an article in the Standard about an exhibit called: Parisian Insights Into Split-Open Bodies: “Gina Pane and Valie Export injure themselves with razor blades.”[129] And a brilliant exegesis! “Export’s poetic-sharp installation of compulsive performances is among the reflexive anomalies in part two in which the fascination for bodily orifices obsessively-provocatively evolves into the focal point.”


Thus, women are liberated by being degraded and humiliated.


The degradation and humiliation of women is the aim of all brutal pornographers.


That Occurs In Every Pornographic Work is the title of a Profil interview with Elfriede Jelinek.

Profil: “The most cruel occurrence that you have invented in order to describe your hatred was self-inflicted.”

Jelinek: “I didn't invent that.”

Profil: “The woman cuts her vagina with a razor blade.”

Jelinek: “I really did that.”

And a political point of view: Profil: “Can you explain why you became a communist?”

Jelinek: “I believe that man is evil; that is my gospel, and I believe that he must be controlled, otherwise he'll behave like a lowdown rat.”[130] 


Here is a literary quotation: “I don't mitigate anything, I give you the coup de grâce, stay on your feet for a minute so that I can kick you in the stomach, take a seat, Sandy will kick you in the balls in a minute after Judy bites your throat, you'll be even more tired, do you want to be stabbed in the kidney or the stomach?...” etc.[131] 


Here's an excerpt from a review by Wolfgang Reiter of Das Sportstück (The Sport Play) by Elfriede Jelinek: “Martin Brambach in the role of “the victim” was genuinely so badly beaten at the premiere that he had use crutches for the following performances.”[132]


In 1973 the news media reported that Valie Export had poured boiling wax over live birds. Recently Export has claimed that the birds were dead before she poured the wax over them.[133] Art critic Kristian Sotriffer “confirms” this: “The birds were of course not ‘preserved’ in wax while they were alive .…The report in the yellow press was fictitious and was designed to cause an uproar among petit bourgeois readers.”[134] 


In 1977 Valie Export was brought to trial for having engaged in cruelty to animals and found guilty of having tied a canary to a perch. However the scalding of the birds with boiling wax, which had been filmed, came under the statute of limitations.[135] This “art object” was on view as part of the Export Exhibition, introduced by Jelinek, in the Museum of the Twentieth Century in Vienna in March of 1997. On March 17, 1997, in Treffpunkt Kultur, a program devoted to culture on ORF, Austrian State TV, films by Export were broadcast. In one scene Export uses a bloody kitchen knife to slice the neck of a turtle, a mouse and a parrot, but the actual decapitations are deleted by film cutting.[136]


(During the Third Reich children were taught to kill birds in a camp called Kinderland, which translates as “Children’s Land.”[137])


This was not a game and it should not be made into a game.


I must interject that the victims of the Shoah, including members of my family, did not engage in sadomasochistic games. They were simply rounded up and transported to the killing grounds.


Depicting and describing violence in art and literature is legitimate as a means of opposing violence. But advocating and glorifying violence must be placed in question, to put it mildly. Injuring and degrading oneself or others in public for a thrill is reprehensible. However, it is certain that there is more to this than meets the eye, and a thorough investigation is called for.


But not everyone favors delving. In the early Nineties, 700 Austrian notables signed a manifesto, attempting to shield convicted murderer and promoted writer Jack Unterweger from being investigated for additional homicide.


The systematic sexual abuse of children has been juristically confirmed, and it is continuing to take place. The wanton laceration and slaying of defenseless animals is criminal, and when animals "serve as surrogates," the use of surrogates is transitional. The aims have been clearly stated and I take them at face value.


On July 30, 1998, an actionist declared in a TV interview that an 11-year old girl would be penetrated by a wooden penis at a forthcoming private action.


Back in 1973 one Mühl-Commune member attempted to substitute the original for the “surrogate” by mailing letter bombs.


Words are always a prelude to deeds.


In the history of mankind, those who have declared pernicious aims have invariably attempted to realize them after gaining power and influence.


The crimes of the Third Reich are unparalleled. However drawing parallels between those who practice and advocate inhumanity is legitimate and unavoidable. Actionism is an outgrowth of National Socialism. Actionists and revisionists are not really at odds, but merely in competition. That is the best way for them to serve each other's interests. They were spawned by the same antecedent.


Freedom of art in Austria means unlimited freedom for some, and the drastic limitation of the freedom of others.


Those who engage in inhumane actions under the guise of art enjoy artistic freedom, but an artist who opposes these practices is simply declared fair game. The cultural powers-that-be and their underlings are masters in the art of repression. Their spiritual cruelty and brutality knows no bounds.


The cultural set-up is a dictatorship with a democratic structure. The earmarks are mediocrity, opportunism, sophism and fellow traveling. Cultural unity signifies the end.


Art has always been a bastion against the dark forces. Now the dark forces are taking over the arts. Art has always represented the truth over the lie. Now it is becoming a medium for propagating the lie.


What is erroneously referred to as “modern art” is in reality mob-art. Mob-art cancels modern art out.


Crime and art have been combined in actionism. Crime is part and parcel of actionistic art, and this element is a primary factor in the sales pitch and an integral part of the market package.


All the power and money in the world can’t turn the truth into a lie and vice-versa.


And here's the coda by object-artist Padhi Frieberger: “The Nazis attempted to destroy art from the outside. Those who practice destruction today have taken over on the inside and are destroying art from within.”


© Herbert Kuhner, 2004.


Segments of this article appeared in Das Menschenrecht (Human Rights), No. 3, Sept. 1992; Nos. 1-4, Dec. 1996; No. 3, Sept. 1997, Vienna; Der Bund, No. 145, March, 1996, Vienna; Log, No. 74, 1996, Vienna.


Views expressed concerning violence in the arts in Austria brought about repercussions described in four articles in Index on Censorship, London (1976, Vol. 2, No. 5:  1976, Vol. 5, No. 2; 1976, Vol. 5; No. 4; 1992, Vol. 21, No. 1.)


Herbert Kuhner, poet, novelist, playwright and translator, has written extensively on the aftermath of the Shoah. He is co-editor and translator of Austrian Poetry Today (Schocken Books). He was born in Austria in 1935, emigrated to Britain and then the United States, where he was brought up and educated. He has been residing in Vienna since 1963.


Prof. Herbert Kuhner

Gentzgasse 14/4/11

A-1180 Vienna

Tel./Fax: 01/ 479 24 69

e-mail: herbert.kuhner@chello.at





Three decades ago, Herbert Kuhner published a literary satire on actionism, Da-Da Ga-Ga Ca-Ca, which should have served as a warning for the future and resulted in repercussions that have lasted until the present. Had the powers-that-be taken heed of the satire, the children who suffered corporal and sexual abuse in Otto Mühl's AAO-Commune would have been spared much suffering and damage.




1. Supplement:


Art and Violence:
Contexts for Post-War Austrian Art


Nazi Art was a simple and sterile depiction of mother earth and the fatherland. The true sado-masochistic, anti-humanist and murderous elements of the movement were missing in its art. Actionist art or "non-art" or "anti-art" has provided what was missing. Actionism does not only depict violence and cruelty, it presents it to the public. The actionists degrade and flay humans and they torment animals and kill them as an ersatz, by their own admission. The editors will draw parallels between National Socialism and actionism, and show that the latter is an outgrowth of the former.


The above served as the original concept for a symposium that took place in Vienna in May 2003, which bore the title:

From Romanticism to Aesthetic Religion:

Gnosis, Irrationalism und Antihumanism in Modern Art

Herbert Kuhner, the initiator of the symposium, was excluded from participation by Dr. Michael Ley, one of the three organizers, and replaced with Leander Kaiser. Dr. Helmuth Kohlenberger, the other organizer, stayed neutral and participated.


The Takeover


A had a theme,

which B had also dealt with,

and he said let’s take it on together!


B came in

with the suggestion

that C be added to the team,

A said okay

(not knowing that

he had assented to what would become

his own excision)


Then C brought D in

to be his right hand man,

without asking anyone,

neutralising B in the process,

and taking whole thing over,

giving A the heave-ho

and slamming the door shut after him.



2. Supplement:



Quotation by Monsignor Otto Mauer, after the Third Reich: "The Jews have immense influence on communism and capitalism. They pass themselves off as defenders of humanity...but they are nothing but a depraved people with a perverted spirit....They have been condemned to eternal damnation....They invariably choose the evil path."

(Hugo Löwy: “Warum Haß?” (Why Hatred?), Renaissance, No. 10, May 1948, Vienna, p. 10; quoted from a lecture by Otto Mauer on April 10, 1948 at the Volkshochschule Alsergrund; researched by Dr. Evelyn Adunka.)


Statement by Otto Mauer

read by Herbert Kuhner

on Wednesday  October 27, 1999

at the Archbishop’s Palace, Vienna

at the occasion of the commemoration

“’Reflections’ Otto Mauer

Discoverer and Promoter of the

Austrian Avant-garde after 1945“


Filmed by Fritz Kleibel, Title: “Harry’s Concert”




3. Supplement


Hans Schroeder-Rozelle
Herrenberg, May 20, 2003


Open Letter (excerpt)

To the Social-Democratic Party of Austria


Otto Mühl. “My Life as a Work of Art“

Planned for December of 2003

in the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna
(Presented March 3, 2004)

I contend that all democratic parties should agree that pedophile crimes should not be represented as works of art. This admission of the Austrian Social Democratic Party is essential since of children and juveniles, who still suffer today as a result of Mühl’s grave crimes.…The political support – particularly permission to establish a private school (in the Mühl Commune) – led to an even greater insulation of the children and young people….If the children had attended a public schools, some would presumably have confided in teachers and thus would have been spared much suffering.

Hans Schroeder-Rozelle
Herrenberg, May 20, 2003

Open Letter (excerpts)

Herrn Peter Noever

Director of the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna
and the Curator of the planned Otto Mühl Exhibit
Frau Bettina Busse
I favor freedom of art, however, but I oppose the abuse of human rights, and in the case of (Otto) Mühl, specifically the egregious violation of rights of children.

Otto Mühl established a system in the Commune centered on his person. He used his power to give vent to his violent fantasies and his pedophile proclivities and thus injuring the children and juveniles under his aegis.

Here are samples of Otto Mühl’s aberrations, transgressions and crimes. Herr Mühl advocated racial theories (Propagation of “genetically” superior individuals – primarily Mühl himself), which is reminiscent of recent history Pregnancies of had to be "approved" by a board, over which Herr Mühl presided. "Unapproved" pregnancies had to be aborted.


The control group around Mühl and selected members consumed soft and hard drugs to a great extent. Juveniles were also given to drugs.

These key samples demonstrate that the Mühl Commune was an authoritarian system, in which we were “imprisoned.” We adult Commune members bear responsibility for our decision to live in the in the Commune, although many of us joined at a very young age.

However the children and juveniles of the Commune had no choice but to live in the Commune. Herr Mühl committed the most grievous transgressions and crimes towards them.


Herr Mühl abused many children and juveniles emotionally and sexually in a humiliating manner, both emotionally and sexually. A good number of these children and juveniles still suffer intensely as a result of these traumatic experiences.

What should these young people think, when the criminal behavior of the individual who abused and raped them is presented as “My Life as a Work of Art” in a major Austrian museum?

Herr Mühl bears responsibility for the most heinous abuse that children, juveniles and adults experienced at his hands, as well as for the spiritual suffering that resulted.





[1] Peter Noever, Kronen-Zeitung, February 4,  2004

[2]Danielle Rouselle, MAK, March 2, 2004. 

[3] Peter Noever, ORF, Treffpunkt Kultur, March 8, 2004   

[4]Peter Noever, ORF, Zeit im Bild 3,  March 8, 2004.   

[5] Rudolf Scholten, Profil, No. 11, 8, March 8, 2004, p. 147.

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

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

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

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

[10] Paula Devarney: “Nitsch - Art of Killing,” Caellian, 9. Oktober 1970; Hermann Nitsch: Das rote Tuch - Das Orgien Mysterien Theater - Im Spiegel der Presse 1960-1988, Freibord, Vienna, 1988, p. 106.

[11] Club 2, ORF, Feb. 7, 1995.

[12] Sigrid Löffler: “Banausie am Balhausplatz,” Profil, No. 39, Sept. 21, 1992, Vienna, p. 11.

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

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

[15] Michael Ley: “Die Würdigung blieb aus,” Neue Illustrierte Welt, April, 1995, p. 21.

[16] Heinrich Himmler, Oct. 4, 1943 to leaders of the SS in Posnan.

[17] Adolf Frohner, (Austrian TV) 2, Zeit im Bild (News Report) 7:30 p. m., January 16, 2000.

[18] Herbert Kuhner: Der Ausschluss: Memoiren eines Neunundreißigers (Memoirs of a 39er: a novel of sorts), Edition 39/Verlag Der Apfel, Vienna, 1988, p.40-46 Die Pestsäule, No.1, Sept. 1972, p. 69-74.

[19] Michael Ley: „Die Würdigung blieb aus,“ Illustrierte neue Welt, April 1995, Vienna, p. 21.

[20]An der Grenze des Erlaubten: Kunst und Zensur in Österreich, Ein Projekt des Universitätszentrums Unikum, Klagenfurt, 1996, S. 62. 

[21] Peter Weibel, Valie Export, eds., Wien: Ein Bilkdkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970, p. 62;  Wiener Sonderdruck, Vienna, 1981, p. 53.

[22] Kate Connoly, Adrian Searle: “The Devil  In a Grey Beard,” The Guardian, Manchester, Nov. 15, 1997.

[23] Helmut Kohlenberger interviewed by Lutz Dammbeck in the film Das Meisterspiel, directed by Lutz Dammbeck, Germany, 1998.

[24] From the film Das Meisterspiel, directed by Lutz Dammbeck, Germany 1998.

[25] Josef Dvorak,: „Amoklauf der Aktionisten,“ Neues Forum, Sept./Oct. 1974, Vienna, p. 2.

[26] Peter Weibel, Valie Export, eds.: Wien: Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970. p. 75-78.

[27] Fritz Rumler: “Ein Problem der Umweltverschmutzung?,“ Der Spiegel, 1968 (exact date illegible), Frankfurt, p. 254. Otto Mühl 7, Peter Noever, Ed., Curator, Museum for Applied Arts, Vienna, Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, 1998, p. 142, Leda and the Swan, Perinetkeller, Vienna, 1964.

[28] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität: AOO, Mühl-Kommune, Friedrichshof, Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik; Vienna, 1992, p. 139.

[29] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität p. 141.

[30] 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.

[31] Ibid., quotation by Karl Iro.

[32] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität,  p. 139-141.

[33] 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.

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

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

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

[37] Peter Weibel concerning his Für Menschen verboten; Hilde Schmölzer, Das böse Wien, Nymphenberger Verlag, Munich, 1973, p. 191-192.

[38] 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.

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

[40] Paula Devarney: “Nitsch - Art of Killing,” Caellian, 9. Oktober 1970; Hermann Nitsch: Das rote Tuch - Das Orgien Mysterien Theater - Im Spiegel der Presse 1960-1988, Freibord, Vienna, 1988, p. 106.

[41] Andreas Schlothauer, Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p.  9.

[42] Andreas Schlothauer: AGPF AKTUELL III/89 of Nov. 17,.1989, p. 8

[43] Andreas Schlothauer, Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität p. 121-122.

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

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

[46] Albert Massiczek: Ich habe meine Pflicht erfüllt. Von der SS in den Widerstand. Ein Lebensbericht; Vol. 2, Junius Verlag, Vienna, 1989, p. 147; Albert Massiczek: “Elefantenhütig oder die Unschuld von Österreich,“ Falter No. 8, 1988, Vienna, p. 5.

[47] Inlandsreport, ORF, July 20, 1989; Medien und Zeit, No. 3, 1989, Vienna, p. 2,

[48] Ibid.

[49] Hugo Löwy: “Warum Haß?“ Renaissance, No. 10, May, 1948, p. 10: quoted from a lecture by Otto Mauer on April 10, 1948 at the Volkshochschule Alsergrund for the “Circle for Christian and Jewish Problems”; also referred to in No. 18, Jan. 1949; researched by Dr. Evelyn Adunka.

[50] Renaissance, No. 18, January, 1949.

[51] Günther Nenning : “Was Not tat,“  Die Presse, Sept. 11, 1999, Spectrum, p. V, Vienna; original source, Otto Mauer, These  zur Kunst, 1941.

[52] Source: Günther Kraus.

[53] Source: Pahdi Frieberger.

[54] Josef  Dvorak: “Aus den Anfangen des Wiener Aktionismus,“  Wiener, Special Edition, Wiener Aktionismus, 1981, p.8.

[55] Peter Weibel, Valie Export, Eds.: Wien: Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970, p. 143.

[56] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität  p. 75-78.

[57] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p. 139

[58] Im Brennpunkt, “Die Tage der Kommune,” Dokumentation by Elisabeth Scharang, ORF (Austrian TV) Feb. 11, 1998.

[59] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität p. 145.

[60] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p. 141-142.

[61] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p 174.

[62] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, cover blurb.

[63] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität, p 122 & 175.

[64] “Ihr seid’s alle auf  Sex fixiert,” News, No. 10, Oct. 3, 1996, Vienna. p. 55.

[65] Heinz Sichrovsky, D. Kaindl, A Stroh, A. Pasher: 1968: “Aufstand der Kunst,” News, No. 16, April 16,  1998 p. 155.

[66] ORF interview, Feb. 1998.

[67] ORF interview, Jan. 1998.

[68] Otto Mühl Interview, Die Zeit, Feb. 26, 2004, Nr. 10, Hamburg.

[69]Press Conference “Concerning Otto Mühl und Crime as a Work of Art,” Inditement by Former Members of the Commune at Friedrichshof , Union of Foreign Correspondents , Vienna, Café Landtmann,  March 1,2004.      

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

[71] Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof: “Ein Echter Österreicher,“ Profil, No. 8, Feb. 16, 1998, p. 102.

[72] Manfred Seeh: Mühl-Kommune: “Rund 18 Millionen Schilling 'Schweigegeld' an Zeugen,“ Die Presse, Vienna, Feb. 10, 1998, p. 10.

[73] Herbert Kuhner. Der Ausschluss, (Memoirs of a 39er: a novel of sorts), Edition 39/Verlag Der Apfel, Vienna, 1988, p. 40-46.

[74] Das Menschenrecht, No. 3, Sept. 1992, Vienna, p.10.

[75] News, No. 25, June 18, 1998. p. 50.

[76] Der Standard, December 5, 2001, Vienna, p. 26.

[77] Josef Dvorak, Die Faschisten von heute, Neues Forum, June, 1974, p. 45

[78] Seitenblicke. ORF, June 6, 1995; Zitate, Kronen-Zeitung, June 11, 1995.

[79] Gerhard Jaschke, Ed.: Reizwort Nitsch, Sonderzahl, Vienna, 1995, S. 20, Einen Spaß, from Profil, Sept. 1988.

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

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

[82] Gerhard Jaschke, Ed.: Das Rote Tuch: Der Mensch das unappetitliche Vieh, Edition Freibord, Vienna, 1988, p.116, Blut Aktion gestoppt, from  T. Z .Munich, Sept. 10, 1971.

[83] Peter Weibel: “Ein deutscher Krimi,” Der Standard, April, 19, 1989, Vienna, p. 23.

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

[85] Kate Connoly, Adrian Searle: “The Devil In a Grey Beard,” The Guardian, Manchester, Nov. 15, 1997.

[86] Horst Christoph: “Schlachten und Schütten,”  Profil, Vienna, No. 31. July 28, 1997, p. 80-82

[87] Hermann Nitsch: Orgien Mysterien Theater/Orgies Mystery Theater, März Verlag, Dramstadt,1969; Das Orgien-Mysterien-Theaters in Schloß Prinzendorf, Vols.1-9, Edition Freibord, Vienna,

[88] Berliner Begegnungen,  Hermann Nitsch interviewed by Peter Huemer,  3 SAT-ZDF July, 30,1998.

[89] Herman Nitsch: Orgien Mysterien Theater/Orgies Mystery Theater, März Verlag, Dramstadt, 1969, p. 297.

[90] Dr. Rudolf  Scholten: Opening Speech, Styrian Autumn, Graz, Oct. 2, 1992.

[91] Fritz Billeter, Tages-Anzeiger, Zurich, July 12, 1974, Letter to the editor in Neues Forum, Vienna,  Sept./Oct. 1974, p. 4

[92] Gerhard Jaschke: Das rote Tuch, from Paula Devarney: “Nitsch: Art of Killing,” Caellian, Oct. 9, 1970

[93] 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.

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

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

[96] Peter Weibel, Valie Export, eds.: Wien: Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970, p. 247.

[97] Dorotheum Catalogue, May 8, 1991, Günter Brus, graphic no. 183.

[98] Karin Kathrein: “Ein ‘Irwisch’ in Paris,” Die Presse, Oct. 14, 1993, Vienna, p. 30.

[99] Peter Weibel, Valie Export, eds.: Wien: Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970, p. 72-73.

[100] Die Wiener Gruppe, Museumsquartier, Nov. 13 – Feb. 21, 1999, Vienna

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

[102] Spektrum, ORF, March 2,1989; Neue Kronen Zeitung, March 5, 1989.

[103] Dr. Jörg Haider: “Ich finde Nitsch großartig”, News, 18/95, Vienna, p. 24.

[104] “Salut für den Meister,” News, 32/95, Vienna.

[105] Sigrid Löffler: “Banausie am Balhausplatz,” Profil, No. 39, Sept. 21, 1992, Vienna, p. 11.

[106] Advertisement for the Brockhaus Encyclopaedia in current journals such as Profil, No. 42, Oct. 16, 2000, p. 37.

[107] Neue Kronen Zeitung, Feb. 11, 1996, quoted from the „Harald Schmidt Show“, Feb. 6, 1996.  

[108] Otto Mühl Interview, Die Zeit, Feb. 26, 2004, Nr. 10, Hamburg.

[109] Club 2, ORF, Feb. 7, 1995.

[110] See footnote No. 62.

[111] Oswald Wiener interviewed by Friedrich Geyerhofer, Wiener Sonderdruck, Wiener Aktionismus, 1981, p. 58.

[112] Transparent Spezial, ORF, May 8, 1996, description by Peter Weibel.

[113] Ibid.

[114] Otto Mühl Interview, Die Zeit, Feb. 26, 2004, Nr. 10, Hamburg.

[115] Austria Presse Agentur, June 18, 1991.

[116] Dr. Rudolf Scholton, Minister für Culture, Die Presse, Sept. 14, 1992.

[117] Friedrich Stadler, Peter Weibel: Vertreibung der Vernunft/The Cultural Exodus from Austria, Springer Verlag, Vienna - New York, 1995.

[118] Peter Weibel, Valie Export, eds.: Wien: Bildkompendium Wiener Aktionismus und Film, Kohlkunst Verlag, Frankfurt, 1970, p.233 & 237.

[119] Ibid., p. 97-114.

[120] Paula Devarney: “Nitsch - Art of Killing,” Caellian, 9. Oktober 1970; Hermann Nitsch: Das rote Tuch - Das Orgien Mysterien Theater - Im Spiegel der Presse 1960-1988, Freibord, Vienna, 1988, p. 106.

[121] Andreas Schlothauer: Die Diktatur der freien Sexualität,  p.176 ; Profil 91/46, p.86

[122] Fritz Rumler: “Exhibitionisten an die Front,” Der Spiegel, 1968 (exact date illegible), p. 194.

[123] Peter Weibel concerning his Für Menschen verboten; Hilde Schmölzer, Das böse Wien, Nymphenberger Verlag, Munich, 1973, p. 191-192.

[124] Klaus Tieber: Die letzten von Gestern: Die Rechten in der Kunst, Picus Verlag, Vienna, 1996, p. 25; Der Standard, May  3, 1995, p. 13.

[125] Gerhard Roth interviewed by Peter Huemer, Im Gespräch, ORF, June 19, 1997.

[126] Fritz Rumler: “Exhibitionisten an die Front,” Der Spiegel, 1968 (exact date illegible), p. 194.

[127] “Staberl“ (Richard Nimmerrichter): “Installationen aus dem Naziland,“ Neue Kronen-Zeitung, June 4, 1995, Vienna, p. 8.

[128] The Jewish Museum of Vienna, Newsletter, No. 14, Summer 1997, p. 1.

[129] “Hors limites, Pariser Kunst-Einsichten in den klaffenden Leib,” Centre Pompidou, Der Standard, December 5, 1994,Vienna, p. 15.

[130] André Müller: “Das Kommt in jedem Porno vor“, interview with Elfriede Jelinek, Profil, Nos. 26/25 June 1990, Vienna, p. 80-82.

[131] Excerpt from Elfriede Jelinek: wir sind lockvögel, baby, published in Die Pestsäule, No. 1, Sept. 1972, Vienna, p. 4-5.

[132] Wolfgang Reiter, Profil, No. 6, Feb, 1998, p. 90.

[133] Roswitha Mueller: Valie Export: Fragments of the Imagination, Indiana University Press, Bloomington / Indianapolis, 1994, p. 44.

[134] Letter from Kristian Sotriffer to Herbert Kuhner, May 22, 1997. 

[135] An der Grenze des Erlaubten: Kunst und Zensur in Österreich,  a project of the University Cultural Center, Unikum, Klagenfurt, 1996, p. 63.

[136] Treffpunkt Kultur, Karin Resetarits, moderator, ORF, March 17, 1998; Valie Export: Der unsichtbare Gegner (Invisible Adversaries), 1973.

[137] Hitlers Kinder (Hitler’s Children), Documentation Series, No. 4, Arte TV, March 1, 2000.



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