In 1969 Acconci moved from the practice of poetry into photographic works that used the medium not to document an ephemeral event but within a systematic exploration of his body's "occupancy" of public space (the street, theater proscenium) through the execution of preconceived actions or activities. For Toe-Touch, the artist produced two photographs from the upper (hands over head) and lower (touching toes) extensions of his body; the results are less depictions of a scene than indices of a movement prescribed by the limits of the body in two directions. In Following Piece, executed daily over one month, Acconci followed one randomly chosen stranger through the streets of New York until he or she entered a private location-an activity where, as the artist described it, "I am almost not an 'I' anymore; I put myself in the service of this scheme."
Inscription: Signed in ink on mount, verso BC: "VA"; titled and dated in pencil on mount, verso BC: "FOLLOWING PIECE 1970"; artist's stamp in ink on mount, verso C: "PLEASE RETURN TO: // VITO ACCONCI // 39 PEARL STREET // BROOKLYN, NY 11201"
the artist; [Addison Thompson, New York City]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Photographs from the Collection V," June 4, 2002–December 29, 2002.
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