Acconci Studio


Aug 27 – Sep 14, 2019

Pace Gallery is honoured to present Acconci Studio’s new exhibition of works by New York artist Vito Acconci.

The exhibition coincides with Acconci Studio’s film series of 27 restored films by Vito Acconci, presented at Anthology Film Archives in New York City from 5 to 15 September 2019.

Exhibition Details

Acconci Studio
Aug 27 – Sep 14, 2019


6 Burlington Gardens

Above: Vito Acconci, performance note from CLAIM (1971) © Estate of Vito Acconci, All Rights Reserved.

Acconci Studio is the ongoing design collective built for perpetual activity by its founder, Vito Acconci.

VITO ACCONCI FAULT-LINE-ON-5 focuses on Vito Acconci’s activities from 1969 to 1973. The exhibition features video, sound and objects from Vito Acconci: CLAIM (1971) and hundreds of historic documents exploring relationships between subject and object, public space and body politics, system of movements and language.

“Once a viewer is in the middle of things, art becomes architecture. The artistic implication is that, ultimately, art isn’t necessary anymore as a field, a profession; art is no longer a noun, it becomes a verb. Art is an activity that you do while having some other career – you do art as a mathematician, as a physicist, as a biologist. Art is nothing but a general attitude of thickening the plot. Once a viewer is a participant there’s no receiver, or contemplator – hence, no viewer. The political implication is that the former viewer becomes an agent, a decision-maker; you’re on your way to becoming a political activist, whether or not you choose to take that road to its destination.” Vito Acconci, in correspondence with Mark C. Taylor.


Vito Acconci, Seed Bed, 1972. Graphic Layout, 4 Panels, 29-1/2" × 12-1/4" × 1-3/4" (74.9 cm × 31.1 cm × 4.4 cm), 3 panels, each 43" × 12-1/4" × 1-3/4" (109.2 cm × 31.1 cm × 4.4 cm), 1 panel, Edition of 3 © Estate of Vito Acconci, All Rights Reserved

The exhibition, installed on a centre line along black walls on which hundreds of documents wrap around the gallery, includes a single channel video split to monitors on five walls. Each screen runs a video from his 1971 performance CLAIM, in which Acconci, blindfolded and armed with metal pipes and a crowbar, radicalizes himself to attack anyone trying to invade his confined space. While Acconci’s behaviour and words become more aggressive and confrontational, he reveals a cognitive boundary through a process of self-hypnosis.

On the floor, a crowbar haunts the space. The viewer faces the wall to decipher the wraparound installation or turns and twists away from the wall to watch the video. Focusing on both is impossible, creating a conflict and placing the viewer in the exhibition’s psychological dilemma. The only basis for decision is the sound of Vito Acconci’s voice, in CLAIM (1971) – which fills the space as the exhibition’s fault-line. At-eye level on the gallery walls, each 'activity' is displayed through evidence detailing incidents of behaviour described in advance and executed by Vito Acconci in varying degrees of exposure -- incidents that contradict the norms of society. The documents, most recently seen at MoMA/PS1 in 2016, were recorded and archived by Vito Acconci as early as 1969.


Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci was part of a creative generation that came on the heels of Minimalists. Acconci’s work was a reaction against the “father-art” that he said he needed to kill. “Because [Robert] Smithson went outside, I could go inside,” he told fellow artist Richard Prince in an interview for Bomb Magazine in 1991. “I had to go somewhere else—inside myself.”

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