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27. 05. 13. - 14:57

Artist Otto Muehl dead

The controversial activist and painter Otto Muehl died at the age of 87 yesterday (Sun). He was the head of the famous Friedrichshof commune in Zurndorf, Burgenland. He was in jail for six years due to sexual offences and abuse of drugs.

Otto Muehl was one of the most controversial Austrian artists. He tried to rebel against society with the means of art. He did this by crossing borders and violating laws.

Born in 1925, Mr Muehl studied German and history at the University of Vienna and became an art teacher. He founded the commune "Praterstraße" in 1970 and acquired Friedrichshof in Zurndorf in 1972.

In 1983, the commune comprised of over 600 people in both venues, in city branches and in La Gomera. Otto Muehl turned out to be a despotic leader. In 1991, he was convicted for sexual offences, indecency with minors, rape, abuse of drugs and influencing witnesses.

The artist served a prison sentence of six years. Former members of the commune, who had been children at that time, later accused Mr Muehl of sexual abuse.

Since his release, Otto Muehl has lived in the "Art & Life Family" commune in Portugal.

Daniele Roussel, the head of the Muehl archive, stated that the artist died "peacefully in a circle of friends in Portugal". Mr Muehl had been suffering from Parkinson and heart problems.

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