Monday, March 21, 2005

Vito Acconci @ AIC

Vito Acconci spoke at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the Thick Design series of visiting artist lectures this semester at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The show had a line around the block, which is nice...the museum is actually getting a big enough name to create a buzz. Lot of people got left out in the cold because they scheduled the event in the smaller front auditorium at the museum for some ridiculous reason.

Thick Design seems like a meaningless term for important design or design with depth. Eventually maybe it will be art again…I am being pissy, but it just seems like a reason to publish a paper more than anything else.

Vito was interesting and old and kind of odd. He shared a great deal of work with us going back to his famous following pieces and the masturbation under the floor one and talking his way to the present with a stuttering, kind of creepy voice. He now thinks of himself as a designer/architect and works collaboratively with the designers in his Acconci Studios. He still seems to think like an artist though. Listening to him under that floor with his voice must have been extra creepy creepy.

He presented a great deal of computer-generated ideas for public art/architecture. Lots of them looked rather ugly or dangerous to actually be in but I guess he is now used to presenting to folks who might be funding a project and requiring many concessions, so he is giving himself some wiggle room by proposing the grandest plan possible.

The thing that struck me the most was despite his stated concern for making stuff that people are within and can do many things in his concept of a person is machine-like. People seem to be things there carry out actions (like his performance method was to carry out action) and his architecture gives people room to do those actions. There is a lot of inhumanity in that.

For instance, he proposed a simple living structure for under a highway system but didn't seem to think about (or at leaast made no mention of) how loud it would be under there. He often paired rooms in a way where it seems like sound and actions of your neighbors would be intrusive and annoying.

There was a nice idea of a gallery with walls of little holes so paintings could be easily hung. There was a soft, glowing store made of scrim material that was strange. I like this pretty fish-like bridge thing he actually built (in Europe somewhere I think), and I dug this theater entrance area that created spotlight effects with mirrors and sunlight.

Because of a bomb scare at the museum, there was a late start and loads of tech problems. Vito ended up showing us his documentation from the sound booth. His voice was everywhere but they left the spotlight on the empty podium throughout the presentation. My girlfriend thought he was playing God. I wondered if it was a ploy and if he was going to start whacking off in the booth. Of course the old artists never do anything wacky like that at the Art Institute.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Stephanie said...

Girlfriend said at first that it was almost like he was gd. Then modified to say, because of the spotlight, that it was as if he was invisible. As we progressed, it was like his piece beneath the floorboards of that gallery space.

But that is not why I am responding. I am responding about the "Vito doesn't seem to know people comment." It seems to me (with the exception of the home-beneath-the-highway scheme) that "people" isn't really the question. He seems to want to re-envision the way that space is used. That a corporation isn't an enclave unto itself, a sidewalk doesn't just mean that strip by the side of the street. He seems to want more freedom and play, more possible uses for a space. Not a multi-tasking human, but rather a person with choices.

Definitely not safe.

March 22, 2005 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found an interview with him at the Myartspace Blog, www.myartspace.com/blog.

April 17, 2008 9:31 AM  

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