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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Austin Taps Once-Controversial Artist Vito Acconci to Create New Public Airport Artwork

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The city of Austin, Texas, has tapped once-renegade performance artist -turned-architect Vito Acconci to create a new work at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for the city’s Art in Public Places program, according to the news site Austin 360. Acconci is probably best known for his 1971 performance at the Sonnabend Gallery in New York, “Seedbed,” in which he lay hidden underneath a ramp in the gallery, masturbating while vocalizing his fantasies about the people who walked above him.

Acconci’s work since then, however, has been much less controversial. Acconci has rebranded himself a designer, and has an eponymous architecture and design studio in Brooklyn.In 2012, he won Miami’s Designer of the Year award. Further back, in 1998, Acconci did a public art project for the Midwest Airlines convention center in Milwaukee (now called the Delta Center), creating what Austin 360’s Jeanne Claire called, “a strangely bland and mundane series of covered concrete benches.”

For our own selfish art-news seeking purposes, ARTINFO hopes that Acconci might give a nod to his envelope-pushing roots. However, the project being a public work for the rental car facility at an airport in Texas, we’re less than optimistic.

Shane Ferro

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