Dear Wieland Schmied!

I seem to have scored a direct hit. Your intense reaction seems to convey that. You have fallen into a bad trap. Are you aware of it? The green revolution is above politics; it is the new evolution succeeding the proletarian that claimed to have been the last. It is supported by the grass-roots and it is neither minority and nor elitist. It is the creative evolution in harmony with the organic process of nature and the universe.

+The ecological engagement of the so-called avant-garde is dishonest, behind the time and obstinate, as obstinately, dishonestly tardy as the ecological engagement of the Marxists. You disqualify yourself if you equate the so-called avant-garde with ecology. Avant-garde is fashionable. Ecology is timeless. Avant-garde is at best the agitated eternal loser. Ecology is the eternally valid law of nature.+[1]

All that is good takes time.

I thought that around 1950 the turnaround for a new, genuine creation in harmony with man and nature had already been achieved. I was mistaken. Instead of creative reconstruction (Transautomatism) there followed a perverse, brainless continuation of destruction.

The necessary optical destruction was followed by a psychological, perverse destruction, by Op and Pop; the eclecticisms of an erroneous theorizing intellectualism such as Concept Art, Hyperrealism, Minimal Art, securing of evidence, etc.; of the worship of rulers, technocracy, political fashion trends like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Che Guevara, Vietnam and similar stuff belonging to the negative philosophy of a decadent, but privileged so-called avant-garde. A dead end of the novelty-delusion.

But this was only a postponement of a truth that was breaking through anyway. “Thirty years (1950-80) were lost to creative impotence. Genuine creation cannot be gagged. I said that already at the time, in 1952. I am still saying it today, only in more precise words, from a higher platform.

I see things as they are. I have the gift to name them. I am tolerant. But I rebel. I accuse. It is my duty. I am alone. There is no dictatorship and no party, no group and no mafia behind me. And also no collective thought pattern, no ideology. But I demand the same tolerance from the manipulators of the so-called avant-garde. They are backed by dictatorship, party, group, mafia, thought patterns, ideology. I am not in their pack. I am alone. I do not denounce modern art across the-board. A number of times I have specified whom and what I consider intellectual onanism. On the contrary, I would like to add: The mafia which I attacked denounces what it does not like across-the-board, assuming even educational functions with an intolerance that has never existed before. Nothing that it does not propagate in their eyes has a right to exist. Nothing that it does not consider art is art. An intolerance beyond compare.

That it is the obligation of art to point out again and again in a mirror-like fashion all the paroxysms, hopelessness and perversity of our time has become a banal slogan. It is a convenient excuse, a miserable alibi of those who are unable to create.

+ If contemporary art falls into an abyss together with the disintegrating Western civilization, it means that art is too weak to defend itself. Too weak to save itself, to weak to fight, not to mention to look for, or find and present, a way out.

Contemporary art laments and cries and whines in anticipation of the immanent disaster, reacting with intellectual onanism like a dog whose tail has been stepped on.

Of course the sensitive artist senses the impending danger like a seismograph, like a passive mirror. Modernism reflects only the horror. Its artists are only reporters and commentators of the horror. +[2]

+ But then, instead of saving themselves, of fighting the evil or trying to find a way out like a man, they cowardly and weakly allow evil to overpower them and pull them into the swamps. This is unworthy of an artist. The museums of contemporary art are the hospitals of our sick society* where the diseases of civilization are being cultivated and conserved instead of being healed. On exhibition are the results of a masochistic therapy: exhibited are the ulcerating discharges of our creative impotency. + [3]

Art does not create clothing that one day will no longer be worn. This distinguishes it from fashion.* Eternity is art’s space. *

Neither Breughel nor Bosch nor Schiele, neither Ensor, Kubin nor Böcklin were reflections of their time. They were, on the contrary, visionaries of other worlds who lived outside their time. Like Sonnenstern today. They were and are not reflections of their time.

Great, genuine art does not involve itself with earthly concerns. Genuine art keeps a unique distance. It does not interfere in events. It searches for analogies of God in the creative act.

If artists interfere, they become responsible.

Bauhaus is co-responsible for the felonies of contemporary architecture.

Today’s avant-garde non-creative intellectual onanism will be responsible for even greater felonies: nuclear energy, mutations, sterility, chemical and bacterial annihilation, brain washing, the transformation of the human being into a computer-controlled consumption machine, genetic crimes, transformations of the laws of nature.

My manifestations and actions cannot be compared with the intellectual acrobatics which followed. In contrast to the happenings which came later, my actions were very precise and positive ecological messages. I have never repeated them, never declared them a form of art, and never wallowed in them year after year.

The happenings, even those by Dali and Duchamp and the Dadaists in contrast, were mostly improvisations of the senseless. Definitely without a practical ecological message; not able to be put into practice and utilized by the small or big man. My actions were messages and they could all be directly utilized, transposed and realized. They were all positive and never negative, perverse, repetitive, senseless, never mindless utopia.

Where is the ecological engagement in the avant-garde of this mafia? It is synonymous with aberration, not with ecology.

The ecological evolution and the supporters of this new movement cannot be found in the museum of the horror show, but rather in places where trees grow, where trees must be planted!

Never has art been as much without art — as artificial, as degenerate, as removed from nature and creation as today. Art means creative mastery. The fine arts should be beautiful. I have always attached importance to the fact that my paintings are beautiful and I placed them besides plants in order to see whether they sustain the comparison with nature.

By the way, what does “Philistine” mean in art? What is a Philistine? Someone who prefers roaring stags or alpenglow or Jesus in a cornfield or garden gnomes as wall decoration or sculpture, is neither a Nazi nor a Philistine, but simply someone who waits until something better comes along. Because he has discovered no access to art. But they want to impose something on him that does not suit him, something he cannot understand, because it makes no sense, but is senseless destruction.

That is an incredible intolerance, the cultural terror of museum art.

+ The pre-potent cultural-political claim to power of this nihilistic avant-garde resembles the cultural-political claim to power of the Third Reich in Hitler’s Germany—only with opposite portents and a different leaning. +[4]

I don’t understand your reaction to the word “degenerate”.

A word, whose meaning has been alienated, must be given back its original meaning. It does not make sense not to use an existing word for fear it could be misunderstood.

Is it to be eliminated from dictionaries? It is like using the word Jew. Just as the word Jew is slowly being ridded from wrong associations by being used naturally, it is time to do the same with the word “degenerate”. As long as we cannot use “degenerate” completely naturally, we have not yet overcome the past. Let’s stop beating about the bush, let’s call a spade a spade. Degenerate means non-art. Degenerate art is a term for art that has been stripped of art, no more and no less, like decaffeinated coffee.

Here, too, I am consistently deconstructing prejudices. Already in 1954, for example, in the painting Politische Gärtnerin [Political Gardener] I tried to free evil symbols from their meaning with a green (!!) swastika and a purple (!!) hammer and sickle. That did not make me a Nazi or a Communist. The catalogue text by Änne Abel in 1963, too, has this intention: “Hundertwasser is a Gift for Germany” in Gothic letters! The word Germany was as taboo as the word Jew.

I repeat my appeal to you: Where are the cultural experts who dare to open their mouths in order to unmask the fraud! Be not afraid of intrigues. Be strong. Be free. Please be on the side of the truthful evolution. Thirty years delay are enough. You will breathe a sigh of relief.


Hundertwasser, Vienna, June 16, 1981

Beauty is beautiful!

[1] + - + added June 21, 1981.

[2] + - + added March 1983.

* quotations by Ernst Fuchs.

[3] + - + added June 18, 1981.

[4] + - + added 1981.