Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Otto Piene | German artist, 86

German artist Otto Piene, 86, known for his colorful paintings and gigantic open-air sculptures, died suddenly Thursday, shortly after the opening of his exhibition "More Sky" at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie museum. His death was confirmed Friday by Markus Farr, a spokesman for the group Friends of the Neue Nationalgalerie, which helped organize the exhibit.

Mr. Piene was born 1928 in Bad Laasphe in western Germany and studied at the academies of fine arts in Munich and Duesseldorf. In 1957, with fellow artist Heinz Mack, he founded the influential European postwar movement Group Zero - breaking the traditional boundaries of the fine arts by experimenting with light, air, movement, fire, and metal.

In 1974, Mr. Piene was named director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Advanced Visual Studies. He retired in 1993.

His work has been exhibited in more than 100 galleries and museums worldwide and was shown at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

The German news agency dpa said Mr. Piene's body would be buried in the U.S., where the artist had lived for many years in Groton, near Boston. - AP

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