Acconci Chapter 4

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S.R.: But you also benefited from the gallery system or the relation between museum and gallery system.

V.A: They provided showing places. But also even more than that, magazines don't exist without galleries. 40% of an art magazine is gallery ads. Maybe we weren't so conscious of that, the fact if we needed magazines, we were resorting to the gallery whether we realized it or not. So yes, we depended on the gallery. I think I in my case maybe especially because (...) in any other context what I was doing needed a gallery or a museum in order to be justified. Probably many people in the world were doing what I was doing, but they were doing it in an insane asylum, in a mental hospital and I was doing it under the auspices of a gallery or a museum so it got a kind of validity. But there's a funny time lag with art. A piece I did in 1972, »Seedbed« became relatively notorious, this masturbation piece [...] under a ramp. But people were fucking in the streets in 1965. To masturbate under a ramp was a very minor thing as far as the world was concerned. The world had already changed and art always tries to keep up with the world.

S.R.: So it was an artistic gesture in relation maybe to a social behavior?

V.A.: I wanted it to be the opposite of an artistic gesture, but as long as I was involved with a gallery or museum it was an artistic gesture, no matter what I wanted to call it. Social interaction was already occurring, all I did was to import social interaction into the world. And that's why the work eventually became architecture because at that time what seemed to be the most interesting thing about art that you could take from any field and bring that into art. You could take from psychology, you could take from sociology, from history, from news. But once you were taking from the world and bringing it into art you were closing it into a kind of glass box. Maybe the opposite direction should occur. Why not take the art and bring it into the world? And the world is a world of architecture and design. Again I'm jumping far ahead here.

S.R.: No, that's okay.

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