On first viewing the work of Hermann Nitsch, the uninitiated
may wonder whether he’s a murderous psychopath who conned
the art world into funding satanic rites and blood-drenched bacchanalia.
The reality is that Nitsch is the scraggly-bearded ringleader of the Orgy
Mystery Theater, a performance-art group and ongoing project that
staged nearly 100 ritualistic performances from the early 60s to the late
90s. The events were bizarre orgies of the senses replete with animal
immolation, crucifixion, piles of fruit, entrails, white robes, nudity, gallons
of vital fluids, and God knows what else. These irreverent celebrations
culminated in the Six-Day Play, Nitsch’s take on the story of creation,
which was held at a castle he has lived in for more than 40 years.