Adrian Piper - Lévy Gorvy

Adrian Piper

Adrian Piper

Fusing personal experiences with an articulate political message, Adrian Piper’s work as both an artist and a philosopher has pushed her audiences to interrogate and reassess longstanding societal assumptions about gender, class, and race. Born in New York City in 1948, Piper received an A.A. at the School of Visual Arts in 1969, a B.A. at the City College of New York, and a PhD at Harvard University in 1981. Piper’s work in philosophy has centered around the subject of ethics, particularly as delineated with the writings of Immanuel Kant. At Georgetown University in 1987, the artist became the first African American woman to receive tenure in the field of philosophy. She continues to pursue her academic career as a Kant scholar.

In the late 1960s, while still in art school, Piper took a job working for Sol LeWitt. Greatly influenced by LeWitt’s emphasis on the conceptual aspect of art making, Piper began to experiment with a series of radical, politically-charged performances that received a great deal of attention for their fearless and confrontational treatment of sensitive subject matter. For Mythic Being, 1973-75, the artist marched through the streets of New York City dressed as a man, complete with Afro and bushy mustache, bellowing out passages from her own journals. Funk Lessons, 1982-84, comprised a sequence of lectures teaching predominantly white audiences about the history of the musical genre, followed by dance instruction. And for what is perhaps her best known series of performances, My Calling (Card) # 1: A Reactive Guerilla Performance for Dinners and Cocktail Parties, 1986-1990, the artist handed out printed notes to people who had unwittingly (and unthinkingly) offended Piper, including one featuring the powerful opening line: “Dear Friend: I am black. I am sure you did not realize this when you made/laughed at/agreed with that racist remark.”

Piper has been awarded numerous significant fellowships, including the Guggenheim, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Andrew W. Mellon. The artist was given a Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and a Venice Biennale Golden Lion Award for Best Artist in 2015. The artist’s work is part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, the Museum of Contemporary Art, LA, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Her seventh traveling retrospective, “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016,” originated at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, in the spring of 2018.


Selected Works

  • Adrian Piper Selected Work

    Adrian Piper
    Food for the Spirit



Adrian Piper Exhibition

September 15, 2017


Museum Exhibitions

Selected Press


April 12, 2021

I was one of five artists shortlisted for the competition to create the Memorial in the Tuileries to …

The Wall Street Journal | New York City Museums Become a Haven for Art-Loving Locals

January 26, 2021

Slavik Kuharchuk traveled from Queens to Manhattan to try something he hadn’t enjoyed since the start …

ArtReview | Adrian Piper wins Kaiserring award

January 25, 2021

American artist Adrian Piper is to receive the Kaiserring award, given annually by the German city of …

Elephant | Image of the Day

January 3, 2021

A young Adrian Piper walks through New York City, coated in sticky white emulsion paint, wearing a sign …

Metropolis | Melbourne’s NGV Triennial Ponders the Distant Past and a Post-Pandemic Future

December 17, 2020

Artists and designers explore themes of materiality and domesticity in one of the the year's few large-scale …

Herald Sun | Everything you need to know about the NGV Triennial exhibition

December 10, 2020

With works from more than 100 artists and designers from around the globe, the NGV’s Triennial 2020 …

Apollo Magazine | I’m Not a Nice Girl!

January 14, 2020

Eleanor Antin, Lee Lozano, Adrian Piper, Mierle Laderman Ukeles—Four women artists who contributed …

ARTnews | The Most Important Works of the 2010s: Favorite Artworks That Didn’t Make the List

November 28, 2019

ARTnews presented a list of the most important artworks produced between 2010 and 2019: just 20 of them.

The Art Newspaper | Dissecting a gallery in a remade MoMA

November 6, 2019

Finally, Adrian Piper’s Conceptual series Food for the Spirit (1971), in which the artist photographed …

Art News | 15 Surprising Works at the New MoMA, from Early Net Art to a Full-Scale Kitchen

October 18, 2019

The rehang is all about quietly shocking its audience, placing a Faith Ringgold near a Picasso masterwork, …

Observer | Six Artists Scrutinized the Gaps and Hidden Gems of the Guggenheim’s Collection. Here’s What They Found.

May 28, 2019

After its wildly successful Hilma af Klint retrospective, the Guggenheim is ringing in the 60th Anniversary …

Artnet | Here Are the 10 Absolute Best Works of Art We Saw Around the World in 2018

December 27, 2018

Hailing from the period of transition between Piper’s more purely minimal art and her more performance-based …

The New Yorker | 2018 in Review: The Year in Art

December 27, 2018

The fund’s stated mission of “art into action” could double as the motto of some of this year’s …

ARTNews | The Year in Screens—With 3D Teddy Bears, Absconded Identities, Violent Comedy, and More

December 26, 2018

Adrian Piper’s retrospective, the most important exhibition of the year (now on view at the Hammer …

Artnet | 16 More Globetrotting Art Aficionados Tell Us About the Most Memorable Shows They Saw in 2018

December 21, 2018

“Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016” at MoMA was a veritable coup for the artist, …

ARTNews | The Year in Books—Under the Covers, Between the Lines

December 20, 2018

If you were not sated this year by the Adrian Piper retrospective at MoMA, a beautifully illustrated …

Artforum | In LA, Women Artists Exceed Men in 2018 Museum Solo Shows

December 18, 2018

For the first time ever, large-scale female artists’ solo shows outnumbered male artists’ solo shows …

Hyperallergic | Best of 2018: Our Top 20 NYC Art Shows

December 18, 2018

I originally misread A Synthesis of Intuitions as A Synthesis of Institutions, but like the revealing …

Artsy | The Most Influential Artists of 2018

December 17, 2018

Adrian Piper’s art can be a profoundly uncomfortable experience—perhaps intentionally so.

Los Angeles Times | Best art of 2018: Jasper Johns, Renaissance nudes, 'Made in L.A.' and a sleeper hit at LACMA

December 11, 2018

A big retrospective of the Berlin-based American Conceptual and performance artist ricochets between …

New York Times | The Best Art of 2018

December 5, 2018

'Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016' This exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art was …

Artforum | Johanna Fateman: Top 10 of 2018

December 1, 2018

Johanna Fateman lists her Top Ten of 2018.

Culture Type | Power 100: Artist Kerry James Marshall Ranked No. 2 Most Influential Person in Contemporary Art World

November 11, 2018

In addition to Moten, collector/philanthropist Pamela Joyner (No. 36), curator and critic Simon Njami …

ArtReview | ArtReview Power 100

November 9, 2018

Piper was this year the subject of the largest retrospective ever dedicated by New York’s MoMA to a …

Hyperallergic | Adrian Piper in Her Own Words

November 9, 2018

The relationship between artists and philosophers is not often a close or easy one. Some great artists …

Los Angeles Times | The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: Art in the Age of Rising White Supremacy

November 9, 2018

Piper’s work, in ways both visceral and methodical, tackles difficult questions of race, of belonging …

Los Angeles Times | Review: The artwork of Adrian Piper makes a stern proclamation: 'Everything will be taken away'

October 13, 2018

Near the end of the UCLA Hammer Museum’s big retrospective exhibition of American expatriate artist …

Hyperallergic | Considering Adrian Piper’s Art Alongside 50 Years of Social Change

October 2, 2018

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Hammer Museum hosts a day-long symposium on Piper’s vital work.

Frieze | ‘I Still Do Believe They Want Me Dead’: An Interview With Adrian Piper

September 10, 2018

The winner of the Käthe Kollwitz Prize 2018 discusses her MoMA retrospective, Germany’s political …

The New York Times | Adrian Piper Speaks! (for Herself)

July 5, 2018

Adrian Piper is a conceptual artist and analytic philosopher based in Berlin. She has been written about …

Artforum | Reality Check

July 1, 2018

Where is Enlightenment? Adrian Piper responds.

The New York Times | Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It?

June 27, 2018

The conceptual artist’s life and work push against the boundaries of race and identity in America.

The New York Times | Adrian Piper: The Thinking Canvas

April 19, 2018

"Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016 at the Museum of Modern Art is a clarifying and …

The New York Times | A Solo Show for Adrian Piper

September 15, 2017

The show — the gallery’s first solely devoted to Ms. Piper — includes examples from the artist’s …

Artnet | The 7 Best Artworks on Offer at EXPO Chicago 2017

September 14, 2017

The sixth edition of the Expo Chicago fair... lured first-timers like Lévy Gorvy and Larry Gagosian, …

Photograph | Adrian Piper

August 22, 2017

Lévy Gorvy’s first solo exhibition with acclaimed Conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper...

Artnet | The 10 Most Extraordinary Artworks at Art Basel Unlimited 2017

June 13, 2017

With its colossal artworks, gleaming astonishments, and elegantly dressed dealers guarding darkened grottos …

Artforum | Just Between Friends

May 3, 2017

Last night’s dinner honored, in absentia, the artist, philosopher, and yogi Adrian Piper. As many know, …

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