Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Art History

First Advisor

Adcock, Craig

First Committee Member

Johnson, Dorothy

Second Committee Member

Bork, Robert Odell

Third Committee Member

Roy, Christopher D

Fourth Committee Member

Maierhofer, Waltraud


My dissertation project, Die Gruppe ZERO: Working through Wartime Trauma, analyzes the art, publications, and demonstrations of the art movement Zero. Zero’s core artists, Otto Piene, Heinz Mack, and Günther Uecker worked in West Germany and emerged as a group in West German in 1957. They worked together until they officially disbanded in 1966. My project investigates the specific historical context of Zero, which encompasses the artists’ experience of World War II, its dismal aftermath, the rise of the Wirtschaftswunder (Economic Miracle), and the mounting tensions of the Cold War. In between the lines of Zero manifestos, which are wildly riddled with utopian rhetoric, were the sentiments of their dark reality. Zero artists’ desire to create all-consuming visual phenomena for the observer stemmed directly from their own immersive experience on the ground during the aerial raids of World War II. Zero artists desired to erase the terrorizing charge embedded in the memory of the past and the fears of the present, through bodily experience that would give survivors a new sense of personal agency.


Germany, Gunther Uecker, Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, World War II, Zero


xxii, 381 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 340-381).


Copyright © 2018 Jill Michelle Holaday