PRINT April 1972

Vito Acconci and the Conceptual Performance

. . . there is mention of an Italian artist who painted with feces; during the French Revolution blood served as paint for someone. . . .

—Guillaume Apollinaire, The Cubist Painters,

Esthetic Meditations, 1913.

VITO ACCONCI, PERHAPS MORE THAN any other figure working in that aspect of post-Minimalism associated with the Conceptual performance, is the one who in a puzzling and constricted way allies those open and anarchic stances with the abstract reductivist enterprise known as Minimalism. In so doing he demonstrates a point that I have been at pains to make—that it is possible to recognize in Minimalism itself many of the clues which in fact led to its own stylistic dissolution. In Acconci’s work this was achieved by conjoining Minimalist form with Duchamp-like thought and behavior, a fusion which may only be short-lived because of the virtually antithetical nature of these two positions.

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