Vito Acconci, an eccentric and influential performance artist and restless creative, was a Master Artist in Residence at SFAI in 1997. While here, he conducted a workshop / master classes for selected students/artists.
Best known for his controversial Body Art of the 1960s and ’70s, Vito Acconci has led a diverse career, one that has taken him from poetry through performance, video work to architecture. In Acconci’s subversive and highly physical performances, the artist was known to bite himself, burn off his body hair, and masturbate under a wooden ramp in a gallery while fantasizing through a loudspeaker about the people walking above him. For Broad Jump ’71, the artist organized a jumping competition for men, in which women were the prizes, offering commentary on male ownership of women. For Tonight We Escape from New York (1977), he installed a rope ladder in the Whitney Museum, alongside of which four loudspeakers played fragments of a racist dialogue that seemed to rise and fall along the ladder. Acconci’s interest in the human body and its relationship to public space later evolved into architectural, landscape, and furniture design.