Painter born in Trapani, Accardi contributed significantly to the acceptance of abstract art in Italy. She studied at the Academia di Belle Arti in Florence before relocating to Rome in 1946, where she lived until her death. Soon after beginning her work in Rome, Accardi frequented Pietro Consagra’s studio where she met her future spouse, Antonio Sanfilippo, and others that would influence her Marxist ideology. In 1947, she co-founded the influential postwar art group Forma 1 with Ugo Attardi, Pietro Consagra, Piero Dorazio, Mino Guerrini, Achille Perilli, Antonio Sanfilippo and Giulio Turcato.
Accardi’s earliest paintings were self portraits but after she moved to Rome and joined the Italian avant-garde movement, her work became more experimental. In the 1960s, Accardi started making her first paintings in black and white, focusing on monochromy, color, and shapes. In the mid-1960s, Accardi transitioned to vibrant and intense colors and began using a clear plastic material called Sicofoil ( which she describes as “like something luminous, a mixing and a fluidity with the surrounding environment”) that she used to make Tendas, or tents of clear plastic, which she adorned with painted forms.
During the late 1970s she withdrew from art making to become part of the feminist movement with critic Carla Lonzi. Together the two founded “Rivolta femminile” in 1970, one of Italy’s first feminist groups and publishing houses. In 2001 Accardi exhibited for the first time at the MoMA in the United States.