Vito Acconci on Beauty, Harmony, and Functionality

Words by Stephanie Trujillo

When I introduced myself to Vito Acconci, I was in disbelief that I was finally meeting the famous multimedia artist and architect I had studied about in my contemporary art history courses. Acconci was surprised that I was more interested in his Body Art rather than the architectural works he had just discussed. His response however caught me off guard. Cautiously but sincerely, he said, “I don’t want to make art anymore. Art is just for museums.”


Perplexed, I pointed out the majority of his audience is studying art, and that I myself intend to pursue museum studies. Seeming almost disappointed, he continued to explain his shift from performance art in the 70s’ to architecture and design from the 80s’ on. He was tired of making art that only existed for the purpose of art. In his lecture, he had mentioned that he didn’t start with beautiful since “beauty and harmony don’t mean anything to me.”

Waterfall Out & In

Lobby For The Time Being

Smiling, he said, “I would like to make things functional. Multi-functional.”

Vito Acconci’s opinions, like his radical performances and experimental architectural designs, continue to effortlessly provoke personal and public conversation.

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