Vito Acconci is a multimedia artist and architect best known for his socially subversive performances exploring masochism, voyeurism, and sexuality. Acconci initially studied poetry and writing, but began staging performances in 1969. His radical performances often involved provocative and disturbing actions like making prints from self-inflected bite wounds, stalking random pedestrians around New York City, and masturbating under the floorboards of a gallery. Along with artists like Carolee Schneemann, Marina AbramoviÄ‡, and Chris Burden, Acconci was a pioneer of Body Art, a movement that broke with traditional media and emphasized the physicality, sexuality, and endurance of the performer.
In the mid 1980s, Acconci began creating experimental architecture, design, and public sculpture. In 1988, he set up Acconci Studio, an architectural practice that executes public commissions around the world. Acconci's utopian, biomorphic designs aim to approximate the complexity of living organisms. Both his artwork and his architecture are based on the social interactions between people and the blurring of public and private space.