Colorful tiles on the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

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Vienna Press Release – June 2024 Newly opened: the Vienna Actionism Museum (WAM)

Viennese Actionism is regarded as Austria’s most significant contribution to the international post-war avant-garde scene. It is the most important, but often also the most controversial Austrian art movement to emerge after 1945. This is because Viennese Actionism carved out a niche for itself in the history of art as a radical and stirring artistic examination of the state, church and society in Austria in the 1960s and 1970s. It explores the human body and its psyche without inhibitions.

In terms of art history, four artists are considered to be the protagonists of Viennese Actionism: Hermann Nitsch (1938-2022), Günter Brus (1938-2024), Otto Mühl (1925-2013) and Rudolf Schwarzkogler (1940-1969). Interestingly, the term Viennese Actionism was not coined by the group itself, but only later by the Austrian artist Peter Weibel (1944-2023).

The world’s largest collection of works of Viennese Actionism

The Vienna Actionism Museum (WAM), which opened on March 15, 2024 in Weihburggasse in Vienna’s city center, is the brainchild of a private collectors’ collective that has amassed the largest collection of Viennese Actionism in the world. It includes paintings as well as photographs, films, sketches and graphics of the performances, which were mainly carried out by the four main representatives to great public interest. The collection consists of works created between 1957 and 1973, with the 1960s as the core period. A small part of the collection of around 17,000 exhibits is presented in temporary exhibitions (1-2 per year) over two floors and a total of 900 square meters.

The inaugural exhibition “What is Viennese Actionism?”, which runs until January 2025, presents a chronological overview in seven sections. Julia Moebus-Puck, the director of the WAM, curated the exhibition alongside Eva Badura-Triska, an expert on Viennese Actionism and long-standing curator at Vienna’s mumok – Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna, which also has numerous works of Viennese Actionism.

Academic reappraisal and art education

The new museum aims to portray Viennese Actionism as a multi-layered and multi-faceted art movement whose protagonists have their own unique styles. The aim is to emphasize that Viennese Actionism was not only radical, but also had an enormous artistic quality. The museum is also committed to the ongoing academic study of Viennese Actionism and to facilitating new ways of perceiving it. There are plans for collaborations and loan agreements with other national and international museums. The museum offers a wide-ranging educational program to help convey the content of the museum to its visitors in Vienna. There are numerous guided tours, a digital guide and museum staff on hand to answer questions.


Helena Steinhart
Media Relations
+43 1 211 14-364