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Vito Acconci Biography


Vito Acconci is a multimedia American artist known primarily for his work in the landscape architecture and installation genres. He has also been prolific in the fields of performance, art and design. Vito Acconci started his art career in the late 1960s by using his own body as the subject for works in film, photography, video and performance. In addition to Situationism, Acconci was a pioneer of the Body Art movement, which emphasised the sexuality, physicality and endurance of the artist and in which the artist used his or her own body to make a statement. One of Vito Acconci’s best known pieces in the Body Art tradition was staged in 1971 and called Seedbed. For this installation, Acconci laid beneath a ramp in a gallery and masturbated while patrons walked overhead. He announced his fantasies about the visitors over a loudspeaker as they passed.

The purpose of Vito Acconci’s work was to directly involve the public in the exhibition by creating a situation of reciprocal exchange between the visitors and artist. In the 1980s, Vito Acconci began to focus on works of public art in the forms of permanent sculptures and experimental architecture and building design. Vito Acconci’s work has always been known for its subversive social commentary. In his work, he is interested in expressing the blurred lines between private and public space and the social interactions of people. His experimental work is characterised by its radical nature and rumination on the subjects of masochism, voyeurism and sexuality.

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