Austrian artist famous for painting with human blood dies at age 83

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Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch, famous for his paintings and performances using human blood and animal carcasses, has died at age 83, his family said Tuesday.

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Nitsch died at a hospital in Lower Austria province on Monday, his niece told AFP.

“Hermann Nitsch died peacefully at the age of 83 after a serious illness,” a statement from the family said.

Nitsch was part of the “Actionists,” a radical 1960s avant-garde movement known for skinning animal carcasses, tying up human bodies and using blood, mud and urine in their works.

The Austrian enfant terrible was best known for his long-running Orgies Mysteries Theatre, a performance-based show representing slaughters and religious sacrifices.

Nitsch’s more recent shows included an exhibition in Sicily, Italy, in 2015, which featured dead animals on crucifixes, and led to animal rights groups to accuse him of blasphemy and inciting violence.

His wife Rita Nitsch told AFP at the time “that this kind of small ruckus is always part of (his work)... But quality has triumphed over the polemic.”

Nitsch has two museums devoted to his work in Austria and one in Italy.

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