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Otto Mühl papers.

Mühl, Otto, creator.

Available at Special Collections  SPECIAL COLLECTIONS - CONTACT REFERENCE  (2011.M.38* ) and other locations()

  • Title:
    Otto Mühl papers.
  • Variant Title: Otto Muehl papers
  • Author/Creator: Mühl, Otto, creator.
  • Creation Date: circa 1918-circa 1997
  • Biographical/Historical Note: The Austrian artist Otto Mühl (1925 - 2013), also known as Otto Muehl, was one of the co-founders and participants of Viennese Actionism which is regarded as part of the many independent efforts of the 1960s to develop action art. Mühl was also the founder of the controversial communal living experiment known as the Friedrichshof Commune.
  • Arrangement: Organized in eight series: Series I. Family papers, 1916-1995, bulk 1942-1960; Series II. Early drawings and writings, circa 1930-1958, undated; Series III. Correspondence, 1960-1997, undated; Series IV. Court documents, 1948-1979, undated; Series V. Manuscripts, 1960-1997, undated; Series VI. Photographs and negatives, 1963-1988, undated; Series VII. Sketchbooks, 1979-1997, undated; Series VIII. Publications, 1921, 1961-1997, undated.
  • Physical Desc.: 108 boxes (47.79 linear feet).
    1 computer disk ; 4 3/4 in. Original..
    1 audio disc : analog, 33 rpm, stereo ; 30 cm. Original..
  • Summary: The archive contains material dating as early as 1918 to 1997, documenting the artistic output of Otto Mühl and the history of his family. The bulk of the material concerns Mühl's performance art from the 1960s, the so-called material actions; his theoretical writings about Actionism and the living experiment called Action Analysis at the Friedrichshof Commune, dating predominantly from the 1970s; and hundreds of drawings Mühl produced throughout his life but most intensely during the first half of the 1990s when he was serving a prison term.
    Series I documents the history of the Mühl family. There is a wealth of correspondence between various family members; hundreds of vintage photographs from the 1920s, 1930s, and the 1940s in Nazi occupied Austria; as well as original school records, ID cards, and other official documents. The material presents a unique resource for the study of the changing social and political conditions in Austria, especially in the region of Burgenland, in the first half of the 20th century. Most of the material in this series concerns Mühl's mother Wilma Mühl. Impressively extensive is the lifelong correspondence of mother and son.
    Series II. consists of Otto Mühl's early drawings and juvenile writings, his high school and university course notes, and diaries dating from 1942 to 1958. Diaries dating from 1967 to 1997 form part of Series V.
    Series III comprises Mühl's correspondence: letters sent between 1964 and 1973 to promote Actionism; various correspondence dating between 1960 and 1996; and photocopies of letters sent from prison between 1991 and 1997. The letters sent to promote Actionism detail the controversial reception of Mühl's material actions and are rich in detail regarding his theoretical approach towards Actionism as an art form, and his own artistic goals. The most sizeable is the original exchange with Günter Brus. Its predominant portion dates from 1968 to 1971, the pivotal time when Mühl transformed the concept of artistic action into self-expression and founded the first commune in Vienna. Another significant portion of his correspondence is the collection of transcripts of Mühl's letters to Erika Stocker. Titled Erika Briefe, the bound transcripts form an intense journal of Viennese Actionism and trace the progression of Mühl's art from junk sculptures and destruction of canvas to the material action. Among Mühl's correspondents are the sociologist, psychoanalyst, art historian and author Dieter Duhm; the left-wing activist Dieter Kunzelmann; the author, language specialist, and cybernetics specialist Oswald Wiener; the artist and curator Peter Weibel; and the art historian Peter Weiermair.
    Series IV is a collection of legal documents interspersed with correspondence, relating to court proceedings against Mühl and other participants of Viennese Actionism, seizure of films by Kurt Kren and films produced by Karlheinz Hein's agency Progressive Art Production, usage of illegal drugs, and the suicide happening of Hermann Flasch. Most documents are photocopies, but original documents are also present. Extensively documented are legal proceedings following the action Kunst und Revolution, performed in 1968 at the University of Vienna.
    Series V consists of Mühl's handwritten or typed drafts of scripts for numerous of his material actions, dating from 1963 to 1971; nineteen diaries dating from 1967 to 1997; and a wealth of unpublished writings on Actionism and Action Analysis dating from 1960 to 1997, and proliferating during the 1970s. Also present are drafts for book projects, including the not realized book Die wilden 60er and screenplay Freud's Träume, and Mühl's autobiography Weg aus dem Sumpf, published in 1977, as well as drafts for a revision from 1991.
    The core of Series VI are more than 1000 negatives and contact sheets the Austrian photographer Ludwig Hoffenreich took of Mühl's material actions performed between 1963 and 1969, and other actionist events, including actions staged in 1968 by the German producer, director, and writer Hans-Christoff Stenzel; most of which until now have been unavailable for research. Also present are approximately 300 negatives of analytical actions taking place at the Friedrichshof Commune; a few photographs of Mühl with communards; and several photographic portraits of Mühl, taken by Philippe Dutartre.
    Series VII are sketchbooks produced between 1979 and 1997. About 165 sketchbooks are present, including 110 hardbound volumes dating from 1979 to 1991, and fifty-five small unbound volumes and loose leaf drawings in wrappers, dating from 1991 to 1997. The sketchbooks also contain theoretical essays about the arts and the creative process, commentary and analysis of artwork by other artists, and personal and philosophical reflections on life. Mühl's drawings from the 1990s have strongly sexualized content.
    Series VIII consists of reviews of material actions and experimental film screenings published in Austrian and German press between 1961 to 1975; several privately issued publications on Actionism and the Friedrichshof Commune; printed ephemera; and a handful of books formerly owned by Mühl.
  • Language: English
  • Other Archival Locations: The Harald Szeemann papers (accn. 2011.M.30 ) at the Getty Research Library include circa 200 color slides and transparencies of actions Otto Mühl performend during the 1960s. There are also press clippings and letters to Seemann from various people, including Hiltrud Karl-Labis, a former member of the Friedrichshof Commune, regarding the arrest of Otto Mühl and his role at the Friedrichshof Commune.
  • Form/Genre: Drawings -- Austria -- 20th century
    Photographs, Original
    Photographic prints -- Austria -- 20th century
    Black-and-white photographs -- Austria -- 20th century
    Color photographs -- Austria -- 20th century
    Black-and-white negatives -- Austria -- 20th century
    Contact sheets -- Austria -- 20th century
    Identity cards -- Austria -- 20th century
    Sketchbooks -- Austria -- 20th century
    Long-playing records -- Austria -- 20th century
    Picture postcards -- Hungary -- 20th century
    Picture postcards -- Austria -- 20th century
    Picture postcards -- Germany -- 20th century
    Photographic postcards -- Austria -- 20th century
    Photographic postcards -- Germany -- 20th century
    Christmas cards -- Austria -- 20th century
    Born digital
  • Subjects: Mühl, Otto -- Correspondence Mühl, Wilma, 1899-1994 -- Correspondence Brus, Günter -- Correspondence Duhm, Dieter, 1942- -- Correspondence Kunzelmann, Dieter -- Correspondence Stocker, Erika -- Correspondence Weibel, Peter -- Correspondence Weiermair, Peter -- Correspondence Wiener, Oswald -- Correspondence Kren, Kurt, 1929-1998 Aktions-Analytische Organisation Friedrichshof (Zurndorf, Austria) Germany. Reichsarbeitsdienst P.A.P. Kunstagentur (Firm) Artists -- Austria -- Correspondence Performance art -- Austria Communal living -- Austria Burgenland (Austria) -- Social life and customs
  • Contributors: Brus, Günter, correspondent . Duhm, Dieter, 1942- correspondent. Dutartre, Philippe, (Photographer), photographer. Hoffenreich, Ludwig, photographer. Kunzelmann, Dieter, correspondent. Stenzel, Hans-Christoff, contributor. Weibel, Peter, correspondent. Weiermair, Peter, correspondent. Wiener, Oswald, correspondent. Aktions-Analytische Organisation, contributor. P.A.P. Kunstagentur (Firm), contributor.
  • Collection: Otto Mühl Collection
  • Collection Note: Otto Mühl Collection
  • ID/Accession Number: 2926-209
  • Access/Rights: Open for use by qualified researchers. Audio visual materials unavailable until reformatting is complete.
  • OCLC Record Number: 819667713
  • Source: GRI Library Catalog

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