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Austrian avant-garde artist Hermann Nitsch dies at 83
Hermann Nitsch, action painting, 200 x 300 cm, oil on canvas and cotton, 2010 © Nitsch Foundation. Hermann Nitsch, action painting, 200 x 300 cm, oil on canvas and cotton, 2010 © Nitsch Foundation.



NEW YORK, NY.- Pace Gallery, with the Nitsch Foundation, shared the sad news of Hermann Nitsch’s passing at age 83 on April 18, 2022, following a serious illness. As a result of his passing, the artist could not personally experience one of his great successes—the exhibition of his 20th Painting Action during the 59th Venice Biennale.

Nitsch was guided throughout his life by the intense, life-affirming philosophy that "everything that ever was and ever will be is to be." It will keep his work eternally alive.

The first part of Nitsch’s storied 6-Day-Play will be performed this summer on July 30 and 31 in Prinzendorf, Austria. Due to the pandemic, the action had to be postponed for two years. It was the artist’s wish that his total work of art, The Orgies Mysteries Theatre, a large-scale performance that engages all five senses, would continue to be presented after his passing.

The artist once said, "The 6-Day-Play of the O.M. Theatre aims to be the greatest and most important celebration of peoples—it is an aesthetic ritual glorifying existence.”

“Today the world lost a pioneering artist who redefined performance and painting through his visceral and existential work, which will continue to live on and continue to inspire generations of artists to come. His passing comes at a poignant time as we mark his achievement with an exhibition in Venice, that we hoped to celebrate with him.” --Pace’s CEO and President Marc Glimcher

We deeply mourn the death of Hermann Nitsch not only for his contributions to the world as an actionist, painter, graphic artist, and composer, but also as a husband, father, friend, mentor, and companion.

Hermann Nitsch was born on August 29, 1938 in Vienna. He is a co-founder of Viennese Actionism and, alongside Allan Kaprow, Joseph Beuys, and Günter Brus, is among the international pioneers of Performance Art. As an actionist, painter, graphic artist, stage set designer, writer, and composer, he is one of the few contemporary universal artists. The ‘Orgies Mysteries Theatre’ conceived and developed by him is the realization of his idea of the total work of art, in which all the human senses are employed. In 1971, he succeeded in acquiring Schloss Prinzendorf in Lower Austria for his OM Theatre, in which he was able in 1998 to realise his ultimate 6-day play after decades of preparation. Since 2007, a museum in Mistelbach has been dedicated to him, presenting his work in ever-new facets. Nitsch has been exhibited at documenta many times and has been represented at the Biennale in Venice and in Sydney. He has carried out more than 150 actions worldwide and received retrospectives in the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; the Lenbachhaus, Munich; the Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; and the Albertina, Vienna.

Works by Nitsch can be found in the most important collections and museums in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Collection, New York; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Tate, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Castello die Rivoli; the GAM, Turin; the Mart, Rovereto; the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Nationalgalerie Berlin; the Lenbachhaus, Munich; the Staatsgemäldesammlung Munich; the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; the Kunsthalle Hamburg; the Kunstmuseum Bern; the Kunstmuseum Winterthur; the Albertina, Vienna; mumok, Vienna; and the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna; and Leopold Museum, Vienna. In 2008, Giuseppe Morra, a longtime patron of the artist, opened Museo Hermann Nitsch in Naples, Italy dedicated exclusively to the work of the artist.










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