Artist Vito Acconci has redefined both art and performance, treated language as matter, and shifted art from object to interaction between people and spaces. He played a critical role in the movement to remove art from the gallery and museum in order to explore such issues as the relationship between public and private. For Following Piece (1968), for example, every day for a month, he followed a randomly selected stranger through the streets of New York until he or she entered a private location. In Seedbed (1972), Acconci lay hidden beneath a gallery-wide ramp, masturbating while vocalizing into a loudspeaker his fantasies about the visitors walking above him, thereby involving the audience in the production of the work and exploring the reciprocal interchange between artist and viewer. In the 1980s, he created Acconci Studio, a design firm that mixes poetry and geometry, computer-scripting and sentence- structure, narrative and biology, chemistry and social-science to create everything from clothing, to vehicles, to buildings. Acconci’s work has been the subject of numerous retrospectives, including those organized by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Why we love Vito Acconci:
• For decades, he has consistently proven himself to be a leading innovator in the art world and beyond
• Today, the Acconci Studio merges art, architecture, and literature to create a range of products from clothing, to vehicles, to buildings
• Acconci’s open design for the Storefront for Art and Architecture paved the way for a history of shows and exhibitions that blurs the lines between gallery and street