Viennese artist and convicted paedophile Otto Muehl dies

Reuters/May 27, 2013

Otto Muehl, one of Austria's most provocative artists who was jailed for sexual offences against minors in 1991, died on Sunday aged 87, the Austria Press Agency said.

He was best known as a co-founder of Viennese Actionism, an avant-garde movement that caused outrage with its graphic images of paint-daubed, naked bodies, blood and violence.

Like other participants in the movement - including Guenter Brus, Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Schwarzkogler - Muehl served a short prison sentence in the 1960s for violating decency laws.

His art later became respectable enough to feature in mainstream art gallery shows.

Muehl founded the Friedrichshof Commune outside Vienna in the 1970s, which attracted 600 residents at its height and was considered by some to be an authoritarian sect.

Muehl was sentenced to seven years in prison for the rape and abuse of minors living there.

An apology from Muehl to the victims was read out at the opening of an exhibition of his work in Vienna's Leopold Museum in 2010.

Muehl moved to Portugal on his release from jail in 1997, and he lived there until his death.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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