Adrian Piper, “The Mythic Being: I Embody Everything You Most Hate and Fear” (1975), oil crayon on gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. (Collection Thomas Erben, New York, © Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin)

For the past five decades, Adrian Piper has been a vital voice in conceptual, performance, and visual art, linking the personal and political with subversive wit. Whether it be her Mythic Being street performances of the early 1970s, in which she donned an afro wig and mustache and interacted with the public as her very masculine alter ego; her calling cards of the late ’80s which literally called out racism and unwanted male attention; or her recent Probable Trust Registry, in which visitors sign contracts agreeing to certain statements, such as “I will always be too expensive to buy,” Piper confronts issues of race, gender, and power that define our contemporary, contested world.

After a successful run at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a retrospective of her work, Concepts and Intuitions, 1965–2016, will be opening at the Hammer Museum this Sunday. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will be hosting a day-long symposium on Piper’s work, Adrian Piper: The Long View, and the corresponding social changes of the past 50 years. The first half of the symposium will look back at Piper’s earlier work, considering it in relation to the upheavals of the ’60s and ’70s, with artist Donna Dennis, professor of museum studies Bruce Altshuler, and gallerist Jeffrey Deitch, followed by a discussion with art historians Alexander Alberro and Nizan Shaked.

Piper moved to Berlin a decade ago (captured in a charming video of her dancing to Berlin House music at Alexanderplatz), and the first afternoon session will cover her recent career in Europe with Jörg Heiser, director of the Institute for Art in Context at the University of the Arts, Berlin. The global instability of the post-9/11 world is also reflected in her work, such as with her Everything series from 2003, featuring photocopied snapshots in which the faces have been erased and replaced by the phrase “Everything will be taken away.” The concluding discussion will focus on her work in relation to global migration,with art historians Elvan Zabunyan and Vid Simoniti, and senior editor of Frieze magazine Pablo Larios. Adrian Piper: The Long View is supported by Visionary Women.

When: Sunday, October 7, 11am–6:45pm
Where: Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles)

More info at Hammer Museum.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.