‘Racism is a visual pathology. … To the extent that the primary foundation of racism is visual, it is commensurate with sexism. Some people are discriminated against because they have breasts, while others are discriminated against because they have woolly hair. If you happen to have breasts and woolly hair, you are in double trouble.”
[Maurice Berger, ‘Interview with Adrian Piper,’ in Art, Activism, and Oppositionality: Essays from Afterimage, ed. by Grant H. Kester, 1998, p. 228.]
Feminist Artist Statement
March 2007 Adrian Piper
Feminism is that state of affairs in which women compete with men to give support and encouragement to one another, rather than competing with one another for rewards and approval doled out by men.
I consider myself to be a feminist, according to this definition, because I work to achieve a feminist state of affairs in my personal and professional relationships with other women. I do not consider myself to be a feminist artist because I do not do my artwork in order to achieve this state of affairs, nor is this state of affairs the primary subject matter of most of my artwork. When asked to speak to this issue, my practice is to reiterate the same criticism I made in Political Self-Portrait #1 (1979). Following is a more recent version of that criticism:
I answer this request with observations based on my personal experience and not on theoretical analyses I have read (not many) or public pronouncements I have heard (too many). I continue to hope that I will encounter some feminism in my lifetime. So far I haven’t gotten lucky. We took the first step toward feminism in the 1920s and the second in the 1960s. But we still are not even close to anything that deserves the name of feminism. Aside from all of those theoretical analyses and public pronouncements, today I mostly encounter the same dysfunction I criticized in Political Self-Portrait #1 [Sex] in 1979: We are still competing with one another for approval and rewards doled out by men. We are still subordinating our familial, social and professional relationships with one another to our familial, social and professional relationships with men. And we are still advancing our narrow self-interests with men at the expense of our deeper wellbeing and interests in one another.
*© Adrian Piper Research Archive 2007
1)“I Answer This Request with Observations,” Gloria: Another Look at Feminist Art in the 1970s (exhibition catalogue) (New York: White Columns, 2002), 2
Spring Equinox Haiku
Off go the wicked
A leavetaking due long past
[Image: Jeff Wall, ‘A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai)’ 1993]
Aperture above Iceland [Catherine Clinger]
Hardangervidda, [Film Still, Catherine Clinger]