new-york

Vito Acconci

International With Monument

Some jokes just aren’t funny. I suspect that many observers of Vito Acconci’s recent work must feel this way—as if the author of so many magnificently perverse moments in contemporary art has finally gone too far. Acconci’s work has always sought to engage as well as confound the viewer, opening up many possible readings and feelings, including disgust. Although we have come to expect him to outrage our sensibilities—as in Seedbed, 1971, in which he masturbated while hidden under a platform in a SoHo gallery—his previous work has also stimulated us with its wit and vigor. The perversity of Seedbed was the product of an extremely focused vision; in contrast, the randomness and lack of focus of the three projects in this recent exhibition produced a perversity of another order entirely. These new works provoke certain questions: Are viewers so put off by the strange banality and vulgarity

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