Adrian Piper: A Retrospective
October 27 2000 – January 21 2001
“The simultaneous presentation of two separately organized exhibitions, ‘Adrian Piper: A Retrospective’ and ‘MEDI(t)Ations: Adrian Piper’s Videos, Installations, Performances and Soundworks 1968-1992,’ provided an in-depth consideration of Piper’s artistic production during the previous thirty-five years and confirmed her central position in the trajectory of American art.
Bringing together more than forty artworks, these exhibitions offered the opportunity to experience Piper’s adept use of several media, and to consider the complex yet resonant concerns that had preoccupied the artist for many years, namely bigotry, stereotyping, and xenophobia. Most important, this retrospective illuminated Piper’s unflinching integrity and gave visitors pause to reflect on their personal beliefs and behaviors. Piper’s work demanded a high level of engagement, as she unapologetically positioned viewers in a relationship to the work that encouraged them to evaluate their responses to the imagery and text she presented.
In addition to working as an artist, Piper is a highly respected philosopher and writer. She was trained in analytic philosophy, and has a particular interest in the work of Immanuel Kant, specifically his notions of the self and his explorations into what enables people to act morally and make aesthetic judgments. Piper’s philosophical explorations had a considerable impact on her artistic production, both in its relationship to rational thought processes and as a means to gain access to larger, metaphysical concerns.1