Vito Acconci was part of a creative generation that came on the heels of Minimalists.Read More
Acconci’s work was a reaction against the 'father-art' that he said he needed to kill. 'Because [Robert] Smithson went outside, I could go inside,' he told fellow artist Richard Prince in an interview for Bomb Magazine in 1991. 'I had to go somewhere else–inside myself.'
He initially pursued writing, enrolling in the University of Iowa’s MFA writing program in the early 1960s. In 1967 he co-founded the independent magazine 0 to 9, through which his own work transitioned to intermedia while the magazine became a model for future collaborative journals. Then, in 1968, he embarked on an eight-year period in which he expanded writing into street works, and interventions relayed via hand written text, photography, sound, film and video. Some of his best-known works from this period, such as Following Piece (1969), Trademarks (1970), and Seedbed (1972), were cornerstones of this era and have had an outsize influence on his peers and later generations of artists. Acconci’s work continued to transform during the mid-1970s, positioning him as an unconventional architect who would go on to design structures from a wide range of materials. He founded Acconci Studio in 1988.
His public works–many of which were never realised–are provocative and memorable, while his architectural work combines design, architecture and environmental use at once. One of his best-known works is Mur Island, for Graz, Austria (2003), a floating platform in the middle of Mur river that was commissioned on the occasion of Austria’s being named as the European Capital of Culture. Vito Acconci was named Design Miami Designer of the Year in 2012. Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway?), his retrospective of early works from 1968 to 1976, was designed by Vito + Maria Acconci and took over the 3rd floor of MoMA PS1 in 2016.
Text courtesy Pace Gallery.