Auto Destruct Arts Movement

The Auto Destruct Arts movement began shortly after WWI and had a lasting influence through the 70s. The term was created by Gustav Metzger in 1962 to describe a body of art that was designed to be both non permanent and be centered around public participation in the art. One example is seen in the phots above: The 1968 burning of Skoob Towers by John Latham. Metzger released two manifestos clarifying the term “auto destruct”, which included the central principles that there must be public participation. The destruction must happen in public; it could not be consumed privately for a select group. The work must destroy by itself once the process had begun to avoid any sense of ownership over the development of the destruction, and the work must return to its original state of nothingness.