Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016
MoMA
New York, 11 West 53rd Street

The exhibition is the result of a four-year collaboration between Piper and Christophe Cherix, Chief Curator in the Museum’s Department of Drawings and Prints, Connie Butler, Chief Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and David Platzker, former Curator in the Museum’s Department of Drawings and Prints, with Tessa Ferreyros, Curatorial Assistant in the Museum’s Department of Drawings and Prints. A selection of works from the exhibition will travel, under the title Adrian Piper: Concepts and Intuitions, 1965– 2016, to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (October 7, 2018 –January 6, 2019), and Haus der Kunst, Munich (April 12–September 22, 2019).

  Adrian Piper. Safe #1–4. 1990. Mixed-medium installation. Screenprinted text on four black-and-white photographs, mounted on foam core and affixed to the corners of a room, with audio. 30 1/4 x 42 in (76.8 x 106.7 cm); 24 5/8 x 39 ¼ in (62.5 x 99.7 cm); 30 7/16 x 24 15/16 in. (77.3 x 63.1 cm); and 44 5/16 x 36in. (112.6 x 99.1 cm). Detail: #2 of 4. Collection Adrian Piper Research Archive. Foundation Berlin. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin.

Adrian Piper. Safe #1–4. 1990. Mixed-medium installation. Screenprinted text on four black-and-white photographs, mounted on foam core and affixed to the corners of a room, with audio. 30 1/4 x 42 in (76.8 x 106.7 cm); 24 5/8 x 39 ¼ in (62.5 x 99.7 cm); 30 7/16 x 24 15/16 in. (77.3 x 63.1 cm); and 44 5/16 x 36in. (112.6 x 99.1 cm). Detail: #2 of 4. Collection Adrian Piper Research Archive. Foundation Berlin. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin.

Comprising over 290 works gathered from public and private collections around the world, this inclusive retrospective, which will be seen in its entirety only at the Museum of Modern Art, will occupy the Museum’s entire sixth floor – the first time that entire level has been devoted to the work of a living artist. The exhibition will encompass the wide range of diverse mediums that Piper has explored for over 50 years: drawing, photography, works on paper, video, multimedia installation, performance, painting, sculpture, and sound. The exhibition will be Piper’s first American museum exhibition in over 10 years, and her first since receiving the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist in the 56th Venice Biennale of 2015 and Germany’s Käthe Kollwitz Prize for 2018.

  Adrian Piper Catalysis III. 1970. Documentation of the performance. Two gelatin silver prints and text mounted on colored paper. Overall 8 1/2 × 11 in. (21.6 × 27.9 cm). Photographs by Rosemary Mayer. Collection Thomas Erben, New York. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin

Adrian Piper Catalysis III. 1970. Documentation of the performance. Two gelatin silver prints and text mounted on colored paper. Overall 8 1/2 × 11 in. (21.6 × 27.9 cm). Photographs by Rosemary Mayer. Collection Thomas Erben, New York. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin

Challenging our assumptions about the social structures that shape the world around us, Adrian Piper has consistently produced groundbreaking, transformative work that has profoundly shaped the form and content of Conceptual art since the mid-1960s. Often drawing from her personal and professional experiences, including her engagement with philosophy and yoga, Piper’s pioneering and wide-ranging contributions have directly addressed gender, race, xenophobia, 2 and, more recently, social engagement and self-transcendence. Despite tackling some of the most sobering and divisive issues of our time, she has—through the use of irony and penetrating wit—created a body of work that is as humorous as it is incisive.

“It has been a privilege for us all to work with Piper in mounting this uncompromising exhibition, which will vastly expand our understanding of the Conceptual and post-Conceptual movements and Piper’s pivotal position among both her peers and later generations of artists,” said Glenn D. Lowry, The Museum of Modern Art’s Director.
  Adrian Piper. Adrian Moves to Berlin. 2007. Documentation of the street performance. Video (color, sound), 01:02:42. Video by Robert Del Principe. Collection Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin. Detail: video still at 00:38:09. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin.  

Adrian Piper. Adrian Moves to Berlin. 2007. Documentation of the street performance. Video (color, sound), 01:02:42. Video by Robert Del Principe. Collection Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin. Detail: video still at 00:38:09. © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin. 

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, various performances from Piper’s Everything series will be enacted in the galleries and on the sidewalks outside of the Museum. On Friday afternoons, as part of Everything #3 (2003), performers will picket the museum wearing sandwich boards reading “EVERYTHING WILL BE TAKEN AWAY,” riffing on both traditional protest actions and street advertisements. In Everything #10 (2007), a number of Museum staff will have the same phrase written on their foreheads in henna. As the text will be written in reverse, the message will be most easily legible when the wearers see their own reflection. Piper’s 2012 The Humming Room interrogates our implicit trust in institutional authority, while also encouraging musical exploration of the voice. The Humming Room will be presented as a required passageway between the first two-thirds of the exhibition and the remaining sections. Blocking the passageway is a security guard and signage instructing visitors that “IN ORDER TO ENTER THE ROOM, YOU MUST HUM A TUNE. ANY TUNE WILL DO.” Visitors are met with a paradoxical proposition—an obligation to perform an idle, commonplace act of modest self-expression in any way they wish.

Ghada Amer

Ghada Amer

Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas