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Hermann Nitsch (born 29 August 1938) is an Austrian artist who works in experimental and multimedia modes.
Born in Vienna, Nitsch received training in painting during the time he studied at the Wiener Graphische Lehr-und Versuchanstalt. He is called an "actionist" or a performance artist. He is associated with the Vienna Actionists, and like them conceived his art outside traditional categories of genre. Nitsch's abstract splatter paintings, like his performance pieces, established a theme of controlled violence, using bright reds, maroons, and pale greys that communicate organic mutilation. In the 1950s, Nitsch conceived of the Orgien Mysterien Theater (which roughly translates as "Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries" or "The Orgiastic Mystery Theater"), staging nearly 100 performances between 1962 and 1998.
Nitsch's work, which can be considered both ritualistic and existential, first drew attention in the early 1960s when he exhibited a skinned and mutilated lamb. The lamb was crucified against a white fabric-covered wall, with the entrails removed and displayed below a white table, splashed with blood and hot water. This was accompanied by Nitsch's "Geräuschmusik". Nitsch's subsequent work has incorporated many similar elements, often combining slaughtered animals, red fruits, music, dancing, and active participants. Nitsch juxtaposed slaughtered animal intestines with quasi-religious icons such as staged crucifixions, satirizing and questioning the moral ethics of atavistic religion and sacrifice. Currently his work is often discussed in the context of our culture's fixation with violence seen on the news, movie screens, and in popular video games. Correlations have also been drawn to many instances of the intersection of violence and culture. These performance works, which have become known as "actions" have become more and more elaborate over the years. This highly elaborate work is exemplified by the 6-Day Play, which Nitsch considered to be his pinnacle piece.
In 1998, Nitsch staged his 100th performance (named the 6-Day Play after its length) which took place at his castle in Austria, Schloss Prinzendorf. In 2004, he held an abbreviated (2-day) version of the work.
Nitsch continues to publish articles and release CDs.
In 2009 the Fondazione Morra in Naples opened the Museo Hermann Nitsch entirely dedicated to his work. On the occasion the artist Roberto Paci Dalò created the film portrait Nitschland Napoli.
In May 2010 Nitsch held his 130th Action in Naples, Italy at the Museo Nitsch (Morra Foundation). A 12 hour long piece, this was Nitsch's first performance in Naples since 1996, and also first using the new museum facility dedicated to his work. The action proceeded from the museum, with a full procession through the streets, to the San Martino Vineyard overlooking the city and the Bay of Naples. The action coincided with the Nitsch/ Caravaggio show at the Pio Monte della Misericordia, where Caravaggio's Seven Works of Mercy is held.
On February 15 and 16 2011, Nitsch held his first ever live painting action (60th Malaktion)in the United States at the Mike Weiss gallery in New York City.
Controversial aspects 
Hermann Nitsch has been repeatedly charged, tried, and even condemned to prison.
- Stark, Ekkehard. Hermann Nitschs 'Orgien Mysterien Theater' und die "Hysterie der Griechen." Quellen und Traditionen in Wiener Atikedild seit 1900
- Winkler, Michael. Review: Hermann Nitschs 'Orgien Mysterien Theater' und die "Hysterie der Griechen." Quellen und Traditionen in Wiener Atikedild seit 1900 by Ekkehard Stark. The German Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 4, 60th Anniversary 1928-1988 (Autumn, 1988) pp. 590–591.
- Romberg, Osvaldo. Redemption through Blood:pp. 8–13, 60-71
- UbuWeb Films Hermann Nitsch (b. 1938)
- Hermann Nitsch's Homepage (German)
- „Hermann Nitsch“ on SAST REPORT Culture
- Video of Hermann Nitsch in America
- The Saatchi Gallery - Hermann Nitsch, Gallery In London with images, information, text and biography about Hermann Nitsch
- Exhibition in the Demeter Gallery (Hungary)
- Hermann Nitsch - The Movie, HN The Movie - a documentary film about Hermann Nitsch
- Nitschland Napoli Film by Roberto Paci Dalò
- Artziwna gallery
- 64. Malaktion Mart Rovereto Italy 02-06/10/2012
- 'Breaking Out of the Reality-Asylum: Hermann NItsch and the Orgies Mysteries Theatre', 1998. Essay by Paul Sakoilsky on Nitsch/Actionism and 'the 6-day play'. (2002 re-edit) published, Galerie Zimmerman Krotochwill Catalogue 08/2010