Ms. Blog Countdown to 2011

December 15

While conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper feels conflicted about actually labeling her art "feminist,"* her works are clearly meditations on social roles and the negotiations inherent to living in a world of gendered and racial assumptions.

Take, for example, her compelling "Calling Card" series, which features cards she hands out to strangers and acquaintances she encouters in relevant situations:

* In 2007, Piper had this to say in regards to her feminism:

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.

Feminism, anyone?

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.


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.