Tag Archives: Vito Acconci

VITO ACCONCI:: PRYINGS, 1971 17 min.

1971, 17:10 min, b&w, sound

A documentation of a live performance at New York University, Pryings is a graphic exploration of the physical and psychological dynamics of male/female interaction, a study in control, violation and resistance. The camera focuses tightly on Kathy Dillon’s face, as Acconci tries to pry open her closed eyes. Dillon resists, at times protecting her face or fighting to get away. Locked in a silent embrace, the couple’s struggle is violent, passionate; Acconci’s sadistic coercion is tinged with a sinister tenderness. The body is a vehicle for a literal enactment of the desire for and resistance against intimate contact.

Acconci writes, “The performer will not come to terms, she shuts herself off, inside the box (monitor), my attempt is to force her to face out, fit into the performer’s role, come out in the open.”

Vito Acconci, Photomatic Enunciation Piece (“Anything Goes”), 1969


“As Acconci’s art shifted from poetry to body-oriented performance in the late 1960s, he often incorporated photography as a means of returning his art to the page and of creating something that would last beyond the moment. This work, dubbed a “photomatic enunciation piece,” is a photo-booth strip showing five random flashes of the automatic camera as the artist sang Cole Porter’s 1934 song “Anything Goes” with exaggerated clarity. Merging performance, chance occurrence, conceptual art, and an assertively anti-art process, Acconci’s work is quintessentially of the 1960s.” –the Met