Portions of this chapter have appeared in different forms as “Adrian Piper as African
American Artist,” American Art 20, no. 3 (Fall 2006): 108–17.
1. Hess, “Ways of Seeing Adrian Piper,” 100; Piper, “It’s Not All Black and White,” 6.
2. I quote from the video installation Cornered. Piper’s script has been published as
Adrian Piper, “Cornered (Video Installation, 2/88)/Acorraldo,” and Piper, “Cor-
nered: A Video Installation Project by Adrian Piper.”
3. Piper, “Notes on the Mythic Being, II,” 276, 277–78.
According to Piper, in The Mythic Being: I/You (Her), “the thought-balloon
texts are felt-tip pen; the alterations to the photographic image are ink and tem-
pera.” Adrian Piper, e-mail to the author, July 11, 2005.
4. Piper, “Notes on The Mythic Being,” n.p.
5. “Blaxploitation” refers to a subgenre of action films popular with both black
and white audiences that arose in the early 1970s as a part of the boom in films
featuring black actors, subjects, and, sometimes, directors, producers, writers,
and crews. Today, the best-known examples are Gordon Parks’s Shaft and
Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, both released in 1971,
and films starring Pam Grier and Tamara Dobson. In August 1972, the Commit-
tee Against Blaxploitation (cab), a Los Angeles–based coalition of local chap-
ters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Congress of Racial Equality,
coined the term blaxploitation in order to condemn films that traded on familiar
stereotypes of both black men and women. The x in blaxploitation made direct
and punning reference to the X-rating that a new genre of soft-core “sexploi-
tation” films flirted with but did not earn and it drew attention to the ways in
which both new genres took advantage of changing decency standards to profit
from the sexual exploitation of women. See Williams, “Filth vs. Lucre,” 98–99;
and “Blacks vs. Shaft,” 88.
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