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Vito Acconci Notebooks

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
© 2008
The Museum of Modern Art Museum Archives
Finding aid prepared by Molly Shea, under the direction of Michelle Elligott, 2008.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Acconci, Vito, 1940-
Title: Vito Acconci Notebooks
Inclusive Dates: Fall 1969 - Fall 1977
Quantity: 0 Linear Feet
Thirty-four notebooks in thirty-six clamshell book boxes, and two 5" Document Boxes including 1 DVD Containing 25 Digital Files.


The notebooks are arranged in chronological order. Vito Acconci has dated each notebook on its cover, thereby clearly identifying the contents' date of origin. The notebooks are individually housed in cloth-bound clamshell book boxes with the corresponding date range labeled on each box. Two such boxes designated for notes that may be added to the collection in the future, are currently empty and contain no materials. Additionally, a DVD containing a full digital reproduction of the notebooks' contents exists. The reproductions have been printed, arranged chronologically, and are housed in two document boxes.

Biographical Note

Vito Hannibal Acconci (January 24, 1940) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His most recent work has spread into the realms of architecture and architectural theory, which has its foundation in Acconci's conceptual work of the 1970's. Acconci's official education is in literature, having received a B.A. in 1962 and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1964. Upon returning to New York City in 1964, Acconci saw the work of Jasper Johns for the first time. From this pivotal moment, Acconci synthesized his interest in language and the artistic usage of space into a desire to write poetry. In this way, Acconci explored a medium that allowed for linguistic fluidity and spatial experimentation. The impact of Johns on the young Acconci is reflected in the literary magazine that he co-edited with poet Bernadette Mayer, 0-9. Acconci's interest in the construction of a page in a book expanded and he lifted his concepts off the page and onto the street. He kept many notebooks documenting his excursions, experiments and public projects. These notebooks intimately reflect Acconci's interest in language, architecture and social relationships.

Scope and Content Note

The Vito Acconci Notebooks consist of thirty-four notebooks containing sketches, diagrams, drawings, lists and general project notes. The notebooks document an intensely creative period in Acconci's life. The inception of many pivotal conceptual projects, such as Openings (1970), Feelers (1971) and Anchors (1972) can be found within the pages of the notebooks. Every page with artistic content has been digitally scanned in its entirety from front cover to back cover. Blank pages were not scanned. Each scan has been printed with a laser color printer, resulting in a hardcopy reproduction of each notebook. The reproduced notebooks have been given individual folders and act as service copies for this collection. The Archives also retains a DVD containing the digital scans.


Access Restrictions

The records are open for research and contain no restricted materials.

Service copies have been created and are provided to researchers on-site. Special permission from The Museum Archives must be obtained to consult the originals.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Vito Acconci Notebooks are property of The Museum of Modern Art. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archivist.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in DADABASE, the library catalog of The Museum of Modern Art. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons and Organizations:
Acconci, Vito, 1940-

Related Collections at MoMA

See also the Sound Recordings collection, the Video Recordings collection, and the Public Information Records.

Administrative Information


Mr. Gilbert Silverman procured the notebooks directly from the artist and donated them to The Museum of Modern Art Archives in January 2008. The notebooks were scanned by the staff at Vito Acconci's studio and a copy of the scans were provided to The Museum Archives. The donor arranged for the creation of custom book boxes, which he donated along with the collection.

Preferred Citation

Vito Acconci Notebooks, [volume]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.


The Vito Acconci Notebooks arrived at The Museum Archives in good condition. Most notebooks are complete. They contain very few torn pages or ink stains, and when present, are a result of Vito Acconci's personal use and ownership of the notebook. Each individual notebook is housed within a protective custom clamshell book box.

Container List


The following inventory reflects the item numbers for both the original notebooks and the folder number for the service copies.

Volume Title
1 1969 Fall - 1970 Spring
2 1970 Fall - 1 of 3
3 1970 Fall - 2 of 3
4 1970 Fall - 3 of 3
5 1971 Spring - 1 of 3
6 1971 Spring - 2 of 3
7 1971 Spring - 3 of 3
8 1971 Fall
9 1972 Summer - 1 of 3
10 1972 Summer - 2 of 3
11 1972 Summer - 3 of 3
12 1972 Summer - Fall
13 1972 Fall
14 1972 Fall to Winter - 1 of 3
15 1972 Fall to Winter - 2 of 3
16 1972 Fall to Winter - 3 of 3
17 1973 Spring - 1 of 2
18 1973 Spring - 2 of 2
19 1973 Spring to Summer
20 1973 Spring to Fall
21 1973 Summer to Fall - 1 of 2
22 1973 Summer to Fall b- 2 of 2
23 1973 Fall to Winter
24 1974 Spring
25 1974 Spring to Summer
26 1974 Spring to Fall
27 1974 Summer to Fall
28 1974 Fall
29 1975 Spring
30 1975 Summer to 1976 Spring
31 1975 Fall to Winter
32 1976 Spring to Summer
33 1976 Summer
34 1976 Summer to 1977 Fall
35 1969-1977 Notes 1 of 2

NOTE: This box contained no materials at time of donation of the collection.

36 1969-1977 Notes 2 of 2

NOTE: This box contained no materials at time of donation of the collection.

37 DVD Containing JPEG Images of Each Notebook

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