new-york

Valie Export

Trois Gallery

IN 1967, WHEN Waltraud Höllinger changed her name to Valie Export and began producing public performance pieces as a fellow traveler of the Viennese Actionists, notoriety came quickly. In Aktionhose: Genitalpanik, 1969, she cut out the crotch of her jeans and walked the aisles of a Munich art-film house that featured sexually explicit films, challenging the voyeurs to look at a body that returned the gaze. She was already known for her action a year earlier, Tapp- und Tastkino (Tap and touch cinema), staged in the busy streets of Vienna’s shopping district. Wearing a large box over her torso, with holes removed in the sides for her arms and the curtain-draped front left open, Export and accomplice Peter Weibel, who acted as her “pimp,” encouraged passersby (mainly men) to reach inside the curtain and fondle her breasts, thereby publicly and materially enacting their private erotic fantasies.

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