Acconci Show

  1. In Acconci’s interview with Klaus Biesenbach, he states that he thinks of art as “a kind of fakery.” He later says (about was videos he was creating) “I thought of them as activities.” By this I believe that he thinks calling his work “art” attaches a connotation of intention and agenda to it, which lessens the genuineness or innocence of the piece. He didn’t see his work as preforming for an audience, he was just investigating things, doing activities. When we describe something as “art” we project assumptions onto the artist about what they think about their own work, and their awareness of an audience. Acconci, although he does shocking, intriguing things, doesn’t seem to be doing them to make any political or artistic stance. His work seems more compulsory than anything else, an activity that needs to be done so that he can cross it off a list, perhaps.
  2. I believe that Acconci’s work dealing with the binary of masculinity and femininity comments on the superficialness of our bodies in the context of gender identity. If he can tuck his penis up between his legs and mimic the appearance a vagina, it becomes an arbitrary symbol and determining trait of one’s masculinity. The same concept is illustrated in “Openings.” Does Acconci strip himself of his masculinity as he plucks each hair? Maybe he does; maybe as his stomach is cleared of hair he becomes more woman, less man.
  3. In Seedbed and Following piece, Acconci explores the notion of privacy and how divisions of space distort this concept. In Seedbed, a wooden floor separates an inherently explicit, sexual act, from people abiding by social norms we practice in “public” spaces. It is this harsh juxtaposition that makes walls separating the public and private seem so flimsy. In Following Piece, Acconci relinquishes control by following a random person on the street until he can’t any longer. We expect a certain kind of privacy, even in public: the privacy of anonymity. Acconci violates that by engaging with the part of someone’s life that is able to be observed.
  4. After I left the exhibit, I proclaimed that I had never been more repulsed by sex. He strips sex of its pleasure, its glamour, its thrill; makes it purely biological, something we should resist because it is so painful, unemotional. In Open/Close he rubs a tomato on his penis until he becomes hard—it is not an exciting act, it is boring. A tomato is his own hand, it is a woman’s mouth, her vagina, but it is a tomato. I have been less excited by sex since the show. What is so special about this pattern we repeat. I can be with different people and it feels the same, but I am destined to chase this act, experience it in the same way, until I die.

Leave a reply

Skip to toolbar