Vito Acconci, Artist, USA, 1940
Vito Acconci was born in 1940 in the Bronx, New York City, USA. He studied English Literature at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1958-1962 and pursued an MFA in writing at the University of Iowa (1962-1964). Starting his career as a writer and poet in New York, he began to work in performance, sound and video by the end of the 1960's. Since then, he has had many solo exhibitions in the United States, Canada and elsewhere and is considered to be one of the foremost artists to define the American conceptual art of the 1970's. Like Bruce Nauman and other early video artists, Acconci's video works are often documentations of performances and make use of long scenes shot in real time, mostly left unedited. Acconci also employed simultaneous video recordings as part of his live performances and installations that critiqued the way in which institutionalized gallery spaces condition the experience of the audience and reify artistic activity, circumstances he tried to break down with techniques that invaded the viewer's sense of privacy and personal space. In general, his work raises questions about personal identity and selfhood, spectatorship and bodily experience, destabilizing common perceptual patterns based on binary oppositions like self/other or private/public.