Vito Acconci and David Antin On Art in Public Space


“An open public space, like the piazza, is a vast multidirectional space. People are dots sprinkled across the floor; one dot slides into another and slips past to continue on its own. A number of dots queue up to form a a dotted line of tourists who follow a flag and crisscross another dotted line of tourists. Here and there, as if scattered through a sea, dots merge into islands. Its every person for him- or herself here, every group for itself, and the tower above all.” -Vito Acconci, “Public Space, Private Time”


Alberto Giacometti, Piazza, 1947–48

“Nobody knows who the public is or what it wants or needs. Or whether it should be considered singular or plural. Though there are many people claiming to act on its behalf or speak in its name. And no one is quite sure what space belongs to it or to them, though that usually seems to be only what’s left over when all the other spaces have been appropriated, walled, shut, fenced, or screened off by whatever groups or individuals lay claims to them. So what we are left with are discards and transition spaces, spaces for a kind of temporary and idle occupation like lounging, strolling, and hanging around–streets, squares, parks, benches, bus stops, subways stations, railroad and airport terminals.” -David Antin, “Fine Furs”

Alvin Landon Coburn, The Octopus, 1909

Alvin Landon Coburn, The Octopus, 1909

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