Vito Acconci American

Not on view

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.

Seedbed, Vito Acconci (American, Bronx, New York 1940–2017 New York), Gelatin silver print

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