In January 1972, Acconci staged one of the decade’s most notorious performance art pieces at the Sonnabend Gallery in SoHo. Gallery visitors entered to find the space empty except for a low wood ramp. Hidden below the ramp, out of sight, Acconci masturbated, basing his fantasies on the movements of the visitors above him. He narrated these fantasies aloud, his voice projected through speakers into the gallery: “you’re on my left . . . you’re moving away but I’m pushing my body against you, into the corner . . . you’re bending your head down, over me . . . I’m pressing my eyes into your hair.” Seedbed was a seminal work that transformed the physical space of the gallery through minimal intervention to create an intimate connection between artist and audience, even as they remained invisible to one another.
Inscription: Typed Sonnabend gallery printed label affixed to mount verso C: "SEEDBED// January 1972.// 5 days, 8 hours a day.// Under the ramp: private sexual actiity, with the aid of fantasies// built on people outside, for the purpose of distributing my seed throughout the floor."; stamped on label, C: "PLEASE RETURN TO:// VITO ACCONCI// 39 PEARL STREET// BROOKLYN NY, 11201"; various cropping and reproduction notations in pencil and red ink, overall
Artist: Vito Acconci (American, born Bronx, New York, 1940)Date: 1970Medium: Single-channel digital video, transferred from Super-8 film, black-and-white and color, silent, 12 min., 30 sec.Accession: 2010.238On view in:Not on view
Artist: Vito Acconci (American, born Bronx, New York, 1940)Date: 1971Medium: Single-channel digital video, tranferred from video tape, black-and-white, sound, 22 min., 28 sec.Accession: 2010.239On view in:Not on view