Born in 1940 in New York
Deceased in 2017 in New York
Vito Acconci was born in 1940 in the Bronx, New York. He earned a BA with a major in literature from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1962. Two years later, he completed an MFA in writing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After returning to New York, he went on to develop a diverse body of work in poetry, criticism, performance art, sound, film and video, photography, and sculpture.
In the second half of the 1960s, Acconci’s work was centered on poetry and language. In 1969 he began using photography to document various actions, such as jumping, bending, and falling, that he executed in order to understand how his body moved in space. Also in 1969 he performed Following Piece, in which he followed passersby on the street until they entered private spaces. From 1969 to 1974 he continued to explore movement in space, using film and video and adding text panels to his photographs documenting his actions. Some of his performances questioned the nature of gender; other works interjected the private realm into public space. During the 1970 exhibition Information at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, for example, he had his mail forwarded to the museum and went there every day to open it. In Seedbed (1972), he masturbated, he claimed, under a temporary floor at the Sonnabend Gallery in New York, while visitors walked overhead and heard him speaking. In the second half of the 1970s, some of Acconci’s works were comprised solely of his speech on audiotape, and many of his performances forced strangers to interact with one another.
In the late 1970s, Acconci began making sculptures referencing architecture and furniture.[...]
Excerpt of the biography available on the website Guggenheim Museum.