Universalmuseum Joanneum GmbH

Announcement | Exhibition opening | Damage Control


Damage Control

Kunsthaus Graz, Space01 and Space02, Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz

BRUSEUM, Neue Galerie Graz, Joanneumsviertel, 8010 Graz

Opening: November 13, 2014, 7 pm
Press conference: November 13, 2014, 10.30 am
Duration: 14.11.2014-15.02.2015


Images and information concerning the exhibitions are available in our press corner within the links: Damage Control Kunsthaus Graz and Damage Control BRUSEUM

The exhibition Damage Control at Kunsthaus Graz, which is on display from November 13, 2014 on is dedicated to a profound, historical examination of the theme of destruction in 20th century art. Running parallel to this, the BRUSEUM shows a European-Austrian themed exhibition, with a special chapter on the Viennese actionists between 1968 and 1972.

Damage Control. Art and Destruction Since 1950

Damage Control is the first profound, historical examination of the theme of destruction in 20th century art. In all areas of art production from the mid-20th century onwards, increased interest can be discerned in the concept of destruction or dismantlement. Whether as a spectacular or also cathartic reaction to both world wars, to the atomic bomb and to the ever present images of destruction found in magazines and on television – art has repeatedly held up a mirror to the world of violence. As a means of emotional or cultural depersonalization, as a critique of institutions or even as cultural ‘fear’, destruction flows into art production and turns into a component of a cleansed re-creation. The exhibition, which in part comes from the Hirschhorn Museum collection, gathers seminal, international works from painting, film, photography, but also from sculpture, installation and performance art, showing a development which – extending beyond art – traces the history of the last century, enabling us fundamentally to understand it, its scope extending to present-day fears of the threats posed by terrorism, natural catastrophes and other disasters, whether real or imagined.


Organized by Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (USA) in cooperation with Mudam Luxembourg and Universalmuseum Joanneum, Kunsthaus Graz.

Curators: Kerry Brougher, Interim Director and Chief Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Russell Ferguson, Professor, Department of Art, University of California at Los Angeles. Project coordination (Graz): Katrin Bucher Trantow

Günter Brus, Der helle Wahnsinn, 1968, © BRUSEUM

Damage Control. Body Art and Destruction 1968-1972

To mark the exhibition Damage Control. Art and Destruction Since 1950, which will be shown in the Kunsthaus Graz in autumn 2014, the BRUSEUM is devoted to the very aspect of artistic destruction neglected by the show conceived by the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington: Body Art in its early period from the specific angle of actionist self-injury. So here is a unique opportunity to locate Günter Brus’ late actionist art in an international context, and to test whether he really was the first to injure his own body as part of a performance, and thus is able to be considered as the ‘founder of Body Art’ as he has been described time and again. In 1970 Willoughby Sharp curated an exhibition in the short-lived Museum of Conceptual Art in Chicago, which, with the title Body Works, first introduced to the wider public the development taking place of a body-focused art, later to be operate under the name of Body Art. The video works presented by Vito Acconci, Terry Fox, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Keith Sonnier and William Wegman essentially showed ‘the use of the artist’s own body as sculptural material’. They also already showed, however, the deconstruction and destruction of this new sculptural material and thus the self-injury of artists as an artistic act.


The exhibition, which is intended to come about through collaboration with other institutions, shows works by Vito Acconci, Günter Brus, Chris Burden, Terry Fox, Stephen Laub, Barry LeVa, Dennis Oppenheim, Gina Pane, Larry Smith, VALIE EXPORT and William Wegman among others. Curator: Roman Grabner

Harold Edgerton, with Germeshausen & Grier, (for the US Atomic Energy Commission), Still from Photography of Nuclear Detonations, 1950s, 16mm Kodachrome film Color and black-and-white. Silent Running time: 11:34 minutes, Courtesy MIT Museum