Born in 1938, Günter Brus studied commercial graphic art at the Akademie Kunst in Vienna from 1957 to 1960. After visiting Spain and the Venice Biennale, in 1960, Brus began painting gestural abstractions and became acquainted with Austrian painter, Alfons Schilling.
During the 1960s, Brus was encouraged by Otto Muehl to create his first performance art. With Muehl, Hermann Nitsch and Rudolph Schwarzkogler, Brus was a founder and member of the Aktionismus group. In 1966, again with the help of Muehl, he co-founded the Institut für Direkte Kunst and during the same year, he and Muehl collaborated on a number of performances.
In 1968 Brus was arrested and sentenced for six months for degrading the symbols of the State in his, “Art and Revolution” performed at Vienna University. In 1971 Brus held his first exhibition of drawings at the Galerie Michael Werner in Cologne.