Elke Krystufek


The day after the opening of Elke Krystufek’s recent show, there were more people than I had even seen in this space. Why was there so much fuss about an artist who is only twenty-seven? Krystufek is certainly the most successful Austrian artist of the decade, but better-known artists have shown their work at the Secession without inspiring so much interest. There must have been other reasons for the furor—perhaps the advance reports on an Austrian radio station, for example, that continually repeated the catchphrase, “masturbation performance.” In fact, Krystufek became known to a wider audience through such a performance in the Kunsthalle Wien over two years ago, which led to a political debate between the mayor and the minister of culture. This is not to suggest that voyeurism alone drew crowds; there are also more “sincere” reasons, namely, Austrian art-lovers’ taste for art that is

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