Acconci came of age in the politically agitated years when artists began trying to find ways around the making and selling of objects. They turned to their bodies, their ideas and their actions as the currency of a new realm. According to a recent New York Times article, Acconci’s work grew out of an experience as an aspiring poet and fiction writer whose fascination with the physical space of the page eventually led out into the world.
By the late 1960s, Acconci had transformed himself into a performance and video artist, often using his own body as the subject matter. Much of his work was highly confrontational and incorporated subversive social commentary. In 1969 he began using photography to document various actions and it was his photographs that gave Acconci’s representatives and galleries a new opportunity to market his work. On view are four such examples.
In 1976 Acconci abandoned the gallery world and remade himself as an architect and designer - a practice he continues to this day. Klaus Biesenbach, director of MOMA PS1, once said “He’s challenging our limits about what we want to be private and what we want to be public, and those questions have only become more important.” That sentiment is as evident in his current architectural practice as it is here in these four photographs.
Acconci’s work is held by numerous prestigious institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Met and the Guggenheim in New York, as well as the Tate Museum in London, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and many others.