The Austrian performance artist Otto Muehl was born on 16 July 1925 as Otto Mühl in Grodnau in Burgenland. With his startling and notorious performances, Muehl becomes a pioneer of Viennese Actionism. To realize his ideals, Muehl founds his own commune in 1974, which will accompany him until his death on 26 May 2013 in Portugal.
From 1948 to 1952, Muehl studies at university to become a teacher of German and history before starting his studies of art education at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1953 on. After his first solo exhibition in 1960, however, he turns away from painting and creates first works of art in which he slides canvases, incorporates objects and produces structures of scrap. Together with other artists, Muehl contributes significantly to the beginning of "Viennese Actionism" through his manifesto "Die Blutorgel" in 1962. Together with Hermann Nitsch and Adolf Frohner, he gets himself mured in his studio for three days. Being aversed by bourgeois society, artists such as Muehl, Nitsch and Günter Brus want to break the traditional concept of art with disturbing, radical body performances. In 1966 Muehl creates a new type of action with Brus, which places the body as the main material in the foreground. Muehl participates in a variety of performances, including the 1968 "Art and Revolution" campaign and the slaughter of a pig and its blood-filled art with Nitsch in 1969. To delineate his art from the "Happening Art" Muehl founds the commune "Aktionsanalytische Organization" (AAO), which was inspired by Wilhelm Reich, and later the Friedrichshof Commune in 1974, which runs its own school, various workshops and agriculture. At its peak in 1983, the commune comprises 600 members. Although the commune is founded on principles such as sexual freedom, Community ownership, the abolition of the small family and the further development of art performances, the project fails because of authoritarian leadership. Muehl creates a variety of works, which, however, are not exhibited outside the commune. After being convicted in 1991 based on different moral codes, he is sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, where around 300 pictures are created. After his release he moves to Portugal, where he lives until his death in 2013 in an "Art & Life Family" commune.