Adrian-Piper

When we ask what ‘afro’ can attach itself to, we’re asking about the names we give to things we create but also the names we are given, the names that were imposed. Say, my slave master’s name. And more important than names, we’re asking about meaning, and about the relationship between name and meaning. Is the name really ‘afro’ and the meaning Black life? Is Black life valuable? Can it be constructed to look valuable? Can it provide value? These are the questions we’re asking, after all. (via i am a prefix | THE STATE)

Adrian Piper, My Calling (Card) #1, 1986-1990.

Piper, a light-skinned African-American woman, had these cards printed to offer to individuals who, assuming she was white, did not hesitate to make racist remarks about Blacks in her presence.

Adrian Piper, What Will Become of Me? 1985-ongoing

“Since 1985, Piper has filled honey jars with her hair and fingernails whenever she cuts them. The last container to be added will hold her cremated remains. The jars are displayed on a shelf flanked by two documents: One is a personal account of the artist’s experiences in 1985 when she started the project, and the other is a notarized statement in which Piper declares her intention to donate this work to The Museum of Modern Art. As both an African American and a woman—two groups that have traditionally been marginalized in the history of art—she is literally inserting herself into the Museum’s collection.”

2

In her art practice, rooted in her experience as a light-skinned African American woman, Piper aims to challenge race-based assumptions and prejudices. This installation consists of an ongoing accumulation of the artists own hair, fingernails, and foot skin, to which she will contribute periodically during her lifetime. In a final gesture, her cremated remains will also become part of the installation. In this work, Piper insists on a place for black women in the museum, but, in an act that is as literal as it is ironic, she fulfills this by supplying her actual body rather than simply an artwork about the issue.

I feel more confident than ever carrying these around. I had a hundred made. Get at me if you want some.

Although I was inspired to make these because of the artist Adrian Piper, this is not in anyway an art project or a social experiment. This is my response to not knowing how to tell off, in an adequate way, the men who comment on my body. This is me trying to find a way not to lose my mind with frustration when I am called “trash” in the middle of the day by 3 men. This is me trying to deal with the shitty realities of being a woman in this city. I cannot continue to pretend that it doesn’t matter anymore and you shouldn’t either.