040411: MUMOK Museum of Modern Art Direct Art - Viennese Actionism in an international context

MUMOK Museum of Modern Art Direct Art - Viennese Actionism in an international context 12.11.10 - 29.05.11 Strangulation and bulky waste In Günter Brus' book "Good Old Vienna", the Viennese Actionist, Otto Mühl, is simply called "Otto Bulky Waste". When you come to think of it, bulky waste stands around getting in the way and waiting to be disposed of. This can certainly not be said of Otto Mühl. The MUMOK places his work in the centre of the real sequence of collection exhibitions of Viennese Actionism. The show "Direct Art" has gathered pieces from the 1950's and 1960's, which belong to the house's collection and now present them in a new context. These are meant to be international, but however, the spectrum remains relatively limited: The Japanese Saburo Murakami broke into reality from canvases in 1956 and also the well-known art expansions into the real focus of that era are represented: Nouveaux Realists, Spoerri, Beuys, Warhol – the latter with a wonderful video study of a woman's face. Latin American art or other such body-oriented, truth-oriented and conceptual-oriented exotica aligned to Actionism are not to be expected. At their first international appearance, the Viennese Actionists called themselves "The Vienna Institute for Direct Art". That was at the "Destruction in Art Symposium" in 1966 in London and justifies the appropriate title of today's exhibition. The conceptualistic side of the art destruction is just as tentatively represented as its feministic effect (VALIE EXPORT and Carolee Schneemann have the space that they deserve but the exhibition brochure, on the other hand, shows ten pictures of artistic production, not one of which is of a woman). And yet the concept of the exhibition is a success, the quality of the works cannot be questioned. Alone, the emphasis has to evoke doubt. In the political art of the 1960's, Mühl's portraits of the politicians could easily be ignored – in any case, Wolf Vostell's works can make up for this. And finally, Mühl's materiel battles appear particularly coarse and exactly in opposition to the works on, and with, the bodies of Brus: whilst Mühl handles women's bodies just as risk-free as other everyday objects, Brus makes himself vulnerable and sensitive - not only in a figurative sense (not only in "Strangulation" 1968). The difference in the crass gestures is like that between the Punks and the Rockers - an all or nothing. It would be the task of an art historian to find a distanced attitude to the entire Mühlistic malpractice. And until this happens, we will have to make do with the Brus synthesis of contemporary witness and corny jokes. By Jens Kastner MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst 1070 Vienna, Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz Tel: +43 1 52 500 Fax: +43 1 52 500 13 00 Email: info@mumok.at http://www.mumok.at Opening hours: daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thu: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

mumok - Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
1070 Wien, Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz 1
Tel: +43 1 52 500, Fax: +43 1 52 500 13 00
Email: info@mumok.at
Öffnungszeiten: Täglich: 10.00–18.00 Uhr, Do: 10.00–21.00 Uhr

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