Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci, Murinsel, 2003, Graz, Austria. Photo: Bildarchiv Monheim GmbH/Alamy.

VITO ACCONCI was already a mythical figure in New York’s teeming avant-garde scene when I arrived there on New Year’s Eve in 1977. I was bringing with me my collection of Avalanche magazines—one, the Fall 1972 issue, was devoted to Acconci and featured a picture of him on the cover, holding a cigarette to his lips and staring straight into the camera.

Many of Acconci’s early pieces were featured in that issue. Following Piece, 1969; Blindfolded Catching, 1970; Control Box, 1971; and the infamousSeedbed, 1972, among other radical works, had propelled him to what felt like the front lines of a revolutionary change in art. It was a position he shared with only a handful of others (Dennis Oppenheim, Walter De Maria, Robert Smithson, and Chris Burden), and I remember how the anticipation of each next risky work would radiate through the art community with an energy and excitement

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