Vito Acconci, Following Piece (1969)

Vito Acconci, Following Piece (1969)

I have always been a closet stalker. Not in an obsessive, psychopathic, nutcase-lurking-in-the-shadows way. Generally I stalk people I don’t even know.  It’s friendly stalking, motivated more by the desire to let my life briefly melt into someone else’s than by out-and-out pursuit. I just follow along until my own life nudges me back to reality.

My personal brand of stalking is hard work. Psycho stalkers know in advance who to trail. I actually have to find my prey – cast them, in a way.

For Unfinished Perfect, stalking is a means of being a better critic. How, you ask? By forcing me to let go of prejudices and preconceived paths. I stalk random strangers as they engage with art. I  follow them into galleries and museums, peer over their shoulders as they contemplate works, silently hovering nearby, observing, absorbing. I relinquish control over my own direction. My stalkees call the shots: where I go, what I see, when I stop. Galleries I would never enter, artists I would never consider, shows I would simply dismiss — as a stalker I am obliged to confront them all. I examine not only  the “why” behind my aversion, I also try to plumb what I might have missed.

Ultimately, I think stalking muscles me as a critic.

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