Society of Fellows

Obituaries

Vito Acconci, FAAR 1987

Vito Acconci
Photograph of Vito Acconci by Cosmos Andrew Aarchiapone
Archives of American Art/Smithsonian Institution
Vito Acconci, Channel, 1972
Animation Still from When Buildings Melt Into Air and the Air Reforms Into Building (2012) by Vito Acconci
Playground Klein Bottle. Acconci Studio. Design Miami District
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Vito Acconci, enigmatic poet, installation artist, and designer of buildings, landscapes, performance pieces, and videos, died on April 27, 2017. He was 77. 

"In January 1972, Acconci staged one of the decade’s most notorious performance art pieces at the Sonnabend Gallery in SoHo" (The Met). Given many titles and descriptions by museums, critics, and art historians, he was dependably mysterious. His page on the MOMA website features the video Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway?), and his retrospective of early work was held at MoMA PS1 in 2016. Obituaries in the New York Times, W Magazine, and Art News, among many other publications, describe him as relentless, reckless, humble, transgressive, pathetic, and menacing. "His death at the age of 77 brings to an end one of the most unusual, superb, and trailblazing careers in postwar American art," wrote Andrew Russeth for Art News.