Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Artist Post: Vito Acconci

Following Piece, 1969

     I chose to write about the performance artist, Vito Acconci, because I find that his works and the ideas behind them to be very different then work I am usually drawn to. I think this is the case because most artists that I like, their work usually has a meaning that is hidden or maybe even unimportant to the viewer. But with Acconci, his work usually, "...Incorporates subversive social comment" (MOMA). His works were constantly changing in the fact that some were more focused on himself, while others were focused on the relationship between artist and viewer, such as the Following Piece or his piece Seedbed.
     However, this is a strange choice of an artist for me to write about because I, honestly, do not like a lot of Acconci's work. I find a lot of his performance pieces to be disturbing, off-putting, and uninspiring (his work Seedbed, for example). However, I must admit that there is something about his work, Following Piece, that I find absolutely incredible. I find the fact that the artist was so compelled to find and establish a connection between the artist and the viewer that he would, essentially, follow a complete stranger around NYC, until they went inside someplace private, to be very daring and inspirational. He was not scared of being "discovered" or "found out," he simply wanted to work to make some connections to the strangers that view his work. I think I find the whole idea behind this work to be so interesting because, in my own art-making, I am usually pretty unconcerned with the viewer. I usually will write-off my own work as being "open to interpretation" and thereby I allow the viewer to have any relationship they want to my art. But Acconci was actively trying to understand and form a relationship with his viewers, albeit in a way that I would have never have considered possible.
      One thing that I really love about this work is the final physical piece that can be seen in the image above. This final piece makes a such a personal experience visual and tangible for anyone to study and experience in a sense. Personally, I love the mix of different types of writing; the big bold headings and the small, detailed notes of the artist, which detail the people he followed about the city. I love how there is this simplified organization of information about the "followings," which are arranged in order from October 3rd - October 25th. This allows for some form of coherence in something that was probably a very chaotic experience. Finally, this "final piece" is exciting to me because it is, essentially, the artist's process in the making of the work. I think it would be very interesting to make or develop a piece where the action or process is the main aspect and the "tangible piece" is almost an afterthought; it is only a monument to the event that happened.

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