Vito Acconci

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Vito Acconci, 1973

Vito Hannibal Acconci (born January 24, 1940 – April 27, 2017) was an American designer, landscape architect, performance and installation artist.


  • SHELLEY JACKSON: You began as a writer, moved to performance art, then architecture. I’d like to follow the traces of writing through your career, and see whether your late work could be rethought as a radically materialist practice of writing. What made you want to write?
VITO ACCONCI: I wanted to be involved with the making of some kind of parallel world. I thought, there’s no reason to go to different parts of our world, because you can write them. You can stay home, stay in a little room, and imagine all these worlds. And I wanted to do that. Why did I want to do that, I’m not sure if I can tell.
  • When I thought of myself as a writer in the 1960s, I questioned what made me go from the left to the right margin, from one page to another. As I thought of the space I was also thinking about time. Then I thought: ‘Why am I limiting myself to a piece of paper when there’s a world out there?’ I focused on performance in the early 1970s because the common language of the time was ‘finding oneself.’ In a time like that, what else could I do but turn in on myself and then go from me to you? Photography, film, and video were sidesteps–spaces in front of you–whereas I was more interested in the space where you were in the middle. Now I’m involved with peopled spaces–that’s design and architecture.
    • Vito Acconci interview, in The Art Newspaper, Art Basel edition, December 5, 2012.

Quotes about Vito Acconci[edit]

  • Vito Acconci’s extraordinary career—poetry, art, architecture: a sort of triathlon of the arts—began in the Bronx, where as an aspiring author of seven years he wrote stories about cowboys and athletes. At his Catholic college, he published sexy stuff about priests and nuns that got the school magazine banned for three issues running. He went on to write fiction in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. But when he came back to New York in the early ’60s, something changed, and he began writing poems. Highly conceptual constructions, they did not tell stories, express feelings, or evoke a fictional world. They were not representational. Maybe you could call them presentational: this is a word, this is a sentence, you are reading.

External links[edit]

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