Hermann Nitsch – Austria in the age of postscandalous culture

This article uses the Austrian reception history of the Viennese Actionist Hermann Nitsch to investigate the changing function and structure of cultural scandal in Austria. Like many fellow artists, Nitsch became famous for his rejection of the Austrian state and its institutions, and was rejected by them in turn. Press, police and the federal government waged a series of pitched battles against the so‐called Actionists. Today these same institutions have come to embrace Nitsch’s art, but it attracts an entirely different kind of scandal. It is today used to turn the state apparatus itself into a scandal, and ultimately provides a way for the Austrian far right (FPÖ and BZÖ) to articulate their complicated and contradictory relationship to state power.