Manifestos and texts on auto-destructive art and beyond from countercultural artist and activist Gustav Metzger
Bringing together more than 350 texts written between 1953 and 2016, this comprehensive volume establishes artist and activist Gustav Metzger (1926–2017) as one of the towering figures of the 20th century, a long-overdue recognition of Metzger’s influential vision.
Renowned for his use of unstable materials and chemical reactions to create artworks that embody processes of change, destruction and renewal, Metzger was also a prolific writer, theoretician and satirist. His interest in technology and science and his anti-nuclear activism influenced his development of the concepts of auto-destructive and auto-creative art, terms he coined with his manifestos on “Auto-Destructive Art” in 1959 and “Auto-Creative Art” in 1961. He put these ideas into action with artworks made to decay, disintegrate or change following natural processes.
Edited by Metzger’s long-time friend, curator Mathieu Copeland, this anthology of writings makes Metzger’s essential thinking from the 1950s onward available to a wide audience. It includes seminal writings such as Metzger’s manifestoes of auto-destructive and auto-creative art, his essays about architecture, and an interview with R. Buckminster Fuller from 1970 and a retrospective manifesto on his own legacy, “Remember Nature,” from 2013. Also included are examples of Metzger’s art criticism, political lampoons and lectures. Altogether Gustav Metzger: Writings presents a challenging reading of our artistic, political and technological moment as analyzed by one of our most pioneering, discerning thinkers.