• Man with a rifle, 2000.

    Jeff Wall

    mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
    Museumsplatz 1
    March 22–June 1, 2003

    With this tightly edited retrospective comprising some two dozen works by Jeff Wall, curator Achim Hochdörfer attempts to chart the full development of the Vancouver-based artist, from the 1980 Steve’s Farm, Steveston to the present. Accompanied by a lecture series and an extensive catalogue (contributors include Peter Bürger, Hans Belting, Tom Holert, and Kaja Silverman), the exhibition—Wall’s first major show in Austria—stresses the artist’s critical assessment of the history of photography and its conventions of representation. At the same time the organizers provide an examination of the artist’s work with respect to the broader context of the birth and maturation of Conceptual art.

  • Elke Krystufek, J’arrive /Regard, Regard / Life will not go away / Allegory of flying (detail), 2001, acrylic on canvas, 27 1/2 x 70 7/8".

    Elke Krystufek

    Essl Museum
    An der Donau-Au 1
    February 14–April 27, 2003

    Elke Krystufek emerged in the early ’90s with in-your-face performances and installations dealing with femininity and sexuality as filtered through pop culture. Taking her cue from ’70s body art—particularly its Viennese branch—Krystufek uses her own image, often distorted, debased, disguised, or made sexually explicit, to confront viewers with collective (and mostly suppressed) revulsions and desires. This exhibition, organized by Sammlung Essl chief curator Gabriele Bösch, is the first comprehensive look at the artist’s prodigious output and consists of approximately 200 works from the past decade, including paintings, photographs, collages, videos, and a site-specific installation. The accompanying catalogue includes essays by Bösch and Viennese critic Peter Gorsen.

  • Otto Mühl, Selfpresentationevening, 1984. Performance view, Friedrichshof Commune, Zurndorf, Austria. Photo: Philippe Dutartre.

    Otto Mühl

    MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
    Stubenring 5
    March 26–June 9, 2003

    After a seven-year jail term for drug offenses and immorality, Otto Mühl can pride himself on being Austria’s most controversial artist. From the early ’70s until 1991, the Viennese Actionist reigned over his “action-analytical commune,” a utopian experiment based on collective property, artistic creativity, and a fierce belief in free sexuality. While an abusive streak ultimately undermined the ideals of Meister Mühl’s communal body analysis, his artwork still stands for a radical spirit in the face of an ever-repressive Austrian social order. Curator Bettina M. Busse’s comprehensive survey features paintings, photographs, and video and film documentation of his extreme performances, while the accompanying catalogue traces the shady history of the Friedrichshof Commune.