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Franz West Gone

from GalleristNY

Franz West, Austrian Sculptor Who Embraced Participation, Play and Design, Dies at 65

By Andrew Russeth – 7/26 10:15am

Franz West, the Austrian artist whose sculptures opened the medium to both bizarre and quotidian forms of participation and pushed it into the realm of design, becoming one of his era’s most influential artists, died in Vienna at the Vienna General Hospital. He was 65, and had been ill for some time.

Entering the art world in Vienna in the mid-1960s, Mr. West quickly moved from the dominant avant-garde mode of the time, performance-heavy Actionism, to a focus on sculpture that was playful and often nonsensical. It was open to play and hands-on manipulation, rather than standing apart as an object of contemplation.

His Passstücke sculptures, or Adaptives, which debuted in the early 1970s, were modestly sized pieces of plaster, often with metal handles that people could hold and swing, their unusual shape and weight distribution causing their operators to move in odd ways. Their break from the violent seriousness of Viennese Actionism was dramatic. As Dan Fox put it in Frieze in 2001.”West’s work can be read as a kind of anti-Aktionism—quiet performance freed from the Sturm und Drang of your Mühls and Nitschs.”

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Posted on July 26, 2012 by Editor

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