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Finding aid for the Heinz Ohff collection of Wolf Vostell papers, circa 1962-2007
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Heinz Ohff collection of Wolf Vostell papers
    Date (inclusive): circa 1962-2007
    Number: 2009.M.24
    Creator/Collector: Ohff, Heinz
    Physical Description: 8.0 linear feet (4 boxes, 4 flatfile folders)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The Wolf Vostell papers, collected by the German art critic and friend of the artist, Heinz Ohff, document the activities of one of Europe's pioneers in video art, Happenings, and Fluxus. The bulk of the material dates from the 1970s and the early 1980s.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in German

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Born in Leverkusen, Germany in 1932, Wolf Vostell was a pioneer of video art, and the Fluxus and Happening movements. While studying graphic arts at the École nationale des beaux-arts in Paris, Vostell developed the concept of dé-coll/age, or the process of artistic creation through the destruction of everyday materials. In Paris in 1958 he staged his first Happening, Theatre is in the Street. Four years later he joined with George Maciunas and Nam June Paik to coordinate the First International Fluxus Festival at Museum Wiesbaden in Germany. Vostell was among the first artists to incorporate television into his work, which he did as early as 1958. Vostell had close ties to Spain, the birthplace of his wife, where he founded the Museo Vostell Malpartida de Cáceres in 1976. The first retrospective exhibition of Vostell's work took place in 1974 at Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris. He died in Berlin in 1998.
    Heinz Ohff was a friend of Wolf Volstell, as well as an art critic and editor at the Berlin Tagespiegel from 1961 until 1987. He also served as president of the German chapter of International Association of Art Critics (AICA).

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Heinz Ohff collection of Wolf Vostell papers, circa 1962-2007, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 2009.M.24

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 2009.

    Processing History

    In 2009 the collection was evaluated by John Tain and rehoused by Vladimira Stefura. In 2010 Alexis Adkins processed the collection and wrote the finding aid; Isabella Zuralski supervised and edited the work.

    Related Archival Materials

    The following collections at the Getty Research Institute also include archival materials related to Wolf Vostell: Jean Brown papers (accession no. 890164),  Allan Kaprow papers (accession no. 980063),  Dick Higgins papers (870613). 

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Collected by Wolf Vostell's friend, the German art critic Heinz Ohff, the Wolf Vostell papers document the activities of one of Europe's pioneers in video art, Happenings, and Fluxus. The bulk of the material dates from the 1970s and the early 1980s, a prolific period in Vostell's career. Including correspondence, signed drawings and notes, press clippings, invitations to Happenings and exhibitions, posters, and other printed ephemera, the collection provides a broad, if selective, overview of Vostell's career and art. Many of the items are signed, dedicated, initialed, stamped and/or hand-written by Vostell, often in the form of correspondence to Ohff. Particluarly well documented are several of Vostell's Happenings, his first retrospective exhibition in Paris in 1974, the mobile museum Fluxus Zug (Fluxus Train), the Vostell Environment Museum, the Vostell Archive in Berlin, and his work for the Museo Vostell de Malpartida de Cáceres in Spain. Also included are ephemera from Happenings and dé-coll/age projects, including an empty Joya de Nicaragua cigar box inscribed by Vostell.


    Organized in three series: I. Happenings, 1962-1975; II. Exhibitions ephemera, 1970-1983,undated; III. Various papers, 1971-2007, undated.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Ohff, Heinz
    Vostell, Wolf, 1932-1998

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Museo Vostell de Malpartida de Cáceres

    Subjects - Topics

    Art critics--Germany--Correspondence
    Fluxus (Group of artists)
    Happening (Art)
    Video art--Germany--20th century

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Drawings--Germany--20th century
    Posters--Germany--20th century
    Printed ephemera--Germany--20th century


    Vostell, Wolf, 1932-1998