Out of Order, Out of Sight
Selected Writings in Art Criticism 1967-1992
360 pp., 8 x 10 in,
- Published: February 18, 1999
- Published: November 15, 1996
Adrian Piper joins the ranks of writer-artists who have provided much of the basic and most reliable literature on modern and contemporary art. Out of Order, Out of Sight is an artistic and intellectual autobiography and an (occasionally scathing) commentary on mainstream art, art criticism, and American culture of the last twenty-five years. Piper is an internationally recognized conceptual artist and the only African American in the early conceptual art movement of the 1960s. The writings in Out of Order, Out of Sight trace the development of her thinking about her artwork and the art world, and her evolving awareness of herself as a creative, racial, and gendered subject situated in an often limiting and always absurd cultural and social context.
Adrian Piper has been one of the most thoughtful of American artists working during the past 25 years. Her challenges to the boundaries of race and gender are incisive, instructive and poignant. This compendium of her thinking is a major contribution to a reconsideration of the ways that art can regain its rightful position as an agent for critical discourse concerning the structures of the society which it represents. The exhange between Piper and her viewers has always been a lively one. This book will continue and enhance that dialectic.
John T. Paoletti, Professor, History of Art, Wesleyan University
Adrain Piper's writings are 'difficult.' But not because of her style. It is neither jargon-filled, nor opaque. In fact, it is the opposite, engaging, concise, and to the point. What then is so 'difficult?' The reader is confronted with attitudes and philosophically argued positions which cannot easily be absorbed or rejected in those terms which generally govern the current debate over race, gender, and sexuality (with its extensions in the art world). Nor does the reader find assurance that she 'fits' in other respects. That is her great strength, and that is why her being "out of order" is good for the reader's mind and soul.
Hans Haacke, Professor of Art, The Cooper Union, New York
Adrian Piper's Out of Order, Out of Sight constitutes a unique contribution to contemporary thinking about art and its impact on the world of ideas. Piper herself occupies a unique position in the art world. At once a serious professional philosopher and a vanguard artist, her writing engages with both domains. Some of these pieces, like the amazing 'Philip zohn Catalysis,' are deeply personal; many of them deal with issues of rae and gender, but never from a preconceived ideological position. Identity, aim and affiliation are underlying themes. Often, the writing has a lyrical intensity, and inventiveness that transforms the ebullient text into art. Piper's work is a pleasure to read as well as being instructive and inspiring.
Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Adrian Piper is one of the most provocative, insightful, and articulate of contemporary American voices.
Joyce Carol Oates, Roger S. Berlind Professor, Humanities, Princeton
One of the most important books on artistic philosophy and criticism that I have ever read. Makes me fantasize that if she had ever known Kant he would have obviosuly fallen in love with her. together they would have changed the course of world philosophy. But it's never too late. Read her rich text and be pushed to the highest levels of discourse and discernment.
Robert Farris Thompson, Professor of the History of Art, Yale University
From her roots in the conceptual and performance art of the 1960s, Adrian Piper has helped define the avant-garde for nearly thirty years. But as an African-American woman with 'the epistemic confidence of an upper-class, the pampered only son of doting parents,' her perspective has been tenaciously her own. These volumes are an invaluable historical document, as well as a provocative intervention in the contemporary discussion of race, gender, and power. As americans become more reflexibe about the construction of these categories, Piper's demanding, rigorous, and sometimes irascible essays will become an even more important resource.
Dale Jamieson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado
Adrian Piper is a unique, brilliant, and penetrating artist whose talents are unparalleled within the realm of contemporary art. Piper's art combines the vernacular, topical, and subliminal reaches of our times and popular culture with the intensity of the most rigorous scholarship to create a resonant montage of image, language, and mise-en-scene. Her writings on art are among the most insightful, challenging, and probocative being generated today by any critic or author.
Ned Rifkin, Director, High Museum of Art
this collection comes at a critical time as we look back to the history of conceptual art and also look to the future of the arts in this country. Adrian Piper's writings on her conceptual artmaking display the intellectual clarity and precision of her thinking. Her essays on the art world speak with a regreshing honesty as they expose the complex contradictions and hypocrisies of our culture. This is an important addition to this artist's already distinguished contribution to American Art.
John G. Hanhardt, Curator, Film and Video, Whitney Museum of American Art
Women of colour have always been directed to be silent, to know their place, to stand aside. When one does not validate the wishes or desires harboured/held by the majority are lasting. Whenever Piper speaks Out of Order, Out of Sight, she consistently challenges the majority to remove their blindfold. Piper speaks from the margin - 'a white space for Black People' demanding that the 'centre' reposition itself. Her voice is one of many around the globe making the same demands.
Brenda L. Croft, Artist and General Manager, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative
Out of Order, Out of Sight is a life's work, a testament to passionate reason and social justice. It is also an extraordinary intellectual and aesthetic autobiography by one of the most inspiring artist-philosophers of our times.
Women's Review of Books