Artist biography

American sculptor, performance artist and video artist. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing but began to produce visual work in 1969, most of which incorporates subversive social comment. The works of 1969 were photographic records of actions such as bending and throwing. From 1970 until 1974 he staged a series of activities and performances, such as Broad Jump '71, a jumping competition for men, with a woman as the prize: the work was designed to expose the conventions of male ownership of women.

After 1974 and for the remainder of the 1970s Acconci's presence was only registered at most through recorded tapes of his voice. He also used video and film in his work, as in the installation VD Lives/TV Must Die (1978) at the Kitchen in New York. This consisted of two TV monitors through which erotic images and sounds were played and in front of which were metal balls on stretched elastic bands, poised to smash the monitors. In the 1980s Acconci turned to permanent sculptures and installations, as in Instant House (1980; La Jolla, CA, Mus. Contemp. A.), in which the four sides of a house were pulled together by ropes by the viewer inside. He also produced sculpture and furniture made from natural and incongruous mass-produced objects, as in Garbage Seating (1986; see 1987 exh. cat., p. 39), made from dustbins, earth and tree branches.

Bibliography
Vito Acconci: A Retrospective, 1969–1980 (exh. cat. by J. R. Kirshner, Chicago, IL, Mus. Contemp. A., 1980)
Vito Acconci: Domestic Trappings (exh. cat. by R. J. Onorato, La Jolla, CA, Mus. Contemp. A., 1987)

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