Sicily Welcomes Hermann Nitsch’s Cancelled (and Controversial) Museo Jumex Show

Hermann Nitsch.

Hermann Nitsch, a key member of the Viennese Actionism movement, will get his solo show after all. The exhibition at Museo Jumex in Mexico City that was abruptly cancelled in February is being revived this summer in Sicily, according to the Art Newspaper (see Museo Jumex Cancels Hermann Nitsch Show Over Animal Rights Protest).

“The Orgies Mysteries Theatre” which the artist first conceived in 1957, last showed in Italy in 2010. It will take place at Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa – Zona Arti Contemporanee (ZAC), a former industrial space in Palermo. The exhibition will be comprised of a multi-floor “pharmacy” packed with “fetish objects,” 40 paintings (with a massive work on the floor), 40 photographs, and videos of the artist performing.

The artist’s controversial and often violent performances employ animal carcasses, intestines, and blood, along with mock crucifixions. Museo Jumex reportedly cancelled the show due to outcry from animal rights activists. “Everybody who knows me knows that I am an animal protector,” Nitsch wrote in an email to artnet News in February. “From my point of view factory farming is the biggest crime in our society.”

Nitch’s supporters were disappointed at the Mexican museum’s decision earlier this year. Dr. Eva Hager, the Austrian ambassador to Mexico, wrote in a statement to the press. “Nitsch’s oeuvre critiques precisely the industrial use of animals for public consumption, as well as the attitude of a society that considers animal products as disposable” (see: Austrian Ambassador in Mexico Supports Hermann Nitsch over Museo Jumex Cancellation).

Hermann Nitsch. 1st action, Vienna (1963). Photo: Nitsch Foundation.

Hermann Nitsch. 1st action, Vienna (1963).
Photo: Nitsch Foundation.


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