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Hermann Nitsch, Schüttbild (Splatter Painting), 2011, acrylic on canvas and cotton shirts, wood, 17' 8 1/2“ × 13' 1 1/2” × 3'.

Hermann Nitsch

MARC STRAUS

Hermann Nitsch, Schüttbild (Splatter Painting), 2011, acrylic on canvas and cotton shirts, wood, 17' 8 1/2“ × 13' 1 1/2” × 3'.

In the decades following World War II, Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch and his contemporaries pursued an approach to artmaking that—like those of so many artists around the globe at midcentury—attempted to deal with the underlying psychological depths of human existence. The particular avant-garde methods of the Viennese Actionists emphasized the body as a challenge to pictorial traditions and conservative cultural and political systems (specifically, Austria’s Second Republic in the early 1960s). Their work was raw, materially driven, scatological, performative, and ceremonial, at times toying with blasphemy and flouting social taboos. Fifty-five years later, Nitsch continues his full-throttle expressionistic practice, and this exhibition—which brought together seventeen canvases made between 1983 and 2014—demonstrated the artist’s sustained focus as a

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