Adrian Piper

Adrian Margaret Smith Piper (b. 1948) is a first-generation Conceptual artist and analytic philosopher. She began exhibiting her artwork internationally at the age of twenty, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1969. Adrian Piper produces artwork in a variety of traditional and nontraditional media, including photo-text collage, drawing on pre-printed paper, video installation, site-specific sculptural installation, digital imagery, performance and sound works. Piper’s works locate the viewer in a direct, unmediated and indexical relation to the concrete specificity of the object of awareness. They consistently explore the nature of subjecthood and agency, the limits of the self, and the continuities and discontinuities of individual identity in the metaphysical, social and political contexts.



Catalysis III, 1970

In her Catalysis series, Adrian Piper physically transformed herself into an odd or repulsive person and went out in public in New York to experience the frequently disdainful responses of others.




The Mythic Being, 1973

In 1973, Adrian Piper created an alter-ego, the Mythic Being, who became the basis of a pioneering series of performances and photo-based works. Piper—a light-skinned woman of mixed racial heritage—transformed herself into the Mythic Being by donning an Afro wig, sunglasses, and mustache and adopting behavior conventionally identified as masculine. She then explored how she and others responded to the Mythic Being. In the process, she transformed the conceptual art practices common in the period, infusing them with strong personal and political content.



Calling Card, 1986

Piper also explores issues of personal identity and social boundaries. Using the antiquated nineteenth-century social convention of calling cards, Piper adopts a passive-aggressive approach to showcase how racism and sexism are intrinsically harmful. One of the two “calling cards” in the Indiana University Art Museum’s collections (the brown one) uses misperception of her race (she is a light-skinned African American) to directly confront anyone who utters a racist remark in her presence. The white card thwarts the presumption of men that she is available simply because she is unaccompanied. She says she handed these cards out in the above situations and has since exhibited them for viewers to take and use. While not precious or valuable in the traditional sense, they clearly represent her ideology. The focus in these mass-produced objects is not on craft, but on the ideas behind their production.


On Kawara

On Kawara has based the entirety of his collection of books, paintings, and drawings on the arbitrariness and subjectivity of the way we measure time. Many of his projects are ongoing, making Kawara himself, as the recorder of time, one of the primary materials in his conceptual works. Kawara is perhaps best known for the “date paintings” in his Today series (1966-), each of which conforms to one of eight predetermined sizes and features a date in hand-lettered typography painted over a monochromatic background. The artist completed the canvases while living or staying in over 100 cities around the world. Each date painting is displayed with a handcrafted cardboard box and a clipping from a newspaper published in the same city and on the same day that the artist made the work. Kawara continues to create new works in the series.


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“Today” series, 1966-2013
Acrylic on canvas
8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm)


One Million Years (Past), 1970-1971

10 leather hardbound volumes 2,000 pages


On Kawara: Reading One Million Years (Past and Future)

 installed at documenta 11, Kassel, Germany in 2002


Pages from One Million Years (Future) One Million Years (Future), 1980-1998

10 leather hardbound volumes, 2,000 pages


Kawara’s interest in how our society uses dates to grasp time’s elusiveness can be seen in the two–volume book project One Million Years. The first book, Past, is dedicated to “all those who have lived and died,” and covers the years from 998,031 BC to 1969 AD. The second book, Future, is dedicated to “the last one,” and begins with the year 1993 AD and ends with the year 1,001,992 AD. At the request of the artist, portions of the books have been read aloud in locations around the world. A recording of these readings is part of Kawara’s installation here.



Marina Abramovic

Abramović was raised in Yugoslavia by parents who fought as Partisans in World War II and were later employed in the communist government of Josip Broz Tito. In 1965 she enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade to study painting. Eventually, however, she became interested in the possibilities of performance art, specifically the ability to use her body as a site of artistic and spiritual exploration. After completing postgraduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1972, Abramović conceived a series of visceral performance pieces that engaged her body as both subject and medium. In Rhythm 10 (1973), for instance, she methodically stabbed the spaces between her fingers with a knife, at times drawing blood. In Rhythm 0 (1974) she stood immobile in a room for six hours along with 72 objects, ranging from a rose to a loaded gun, that the audience was invited to use on her however they wished. These pieces provoked controversy not only for their perilousness but also for Abramović’s occasional nudity, which would become a regular element of her work thereafter.




Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful is one example of how, in the early years of performance art, female artists used their own bodies to challenge the institution of art and the notion of beauty. Marina has said in an interview that during the 1970s, “if the woman artist would apply make-up or put [on] nail polish, she would not have been considered serious enough.”

Relation in Time: 17 hour performance

Relation in Time, 1977
The performance Relation in Time, which took place at Studio G7 in Bologna, Italy, is part of the performance series entitled That Self, which evokes a third entity born from the interaction of male and female energies. Abramovic and Ulay were tied together by their hair, each looking in a different direction. They sat alone in silence for the first sixteen hours and visitors were allowed to attend the final hour.

Breathing In/Breathing Out:

‘We are kneeling face to face, pressing our mouths together. Our noses are blocked with cigarette filters. I am breathing in oxygen. I am breathing out carbon dioxide.’

In their performance piece Breathing In/Breathing Out Marina Abramovic and Ulay blocked their noses with cigarette filters and clamped their mouths tightly together, breathing in and out each other’s air.  After seventeen minutes they both fell to the floor unconscious. The viewers could sense the tension through the sound of their breathing, which was augmented through microphones attached to their chests.  Is it a beautiful romantic gesture or a comment on how relationships absorb and destroy an individual?

“Something tender and violent at the same time emerges from the performance: the couple are decided to stick together despite the effort, the danger, the damage; but as is the case with human relations of this kind of intensity, they end up with violence, pain, and a part of each other ‘dead’. It is the idea of interdependency portrayed to its extreme.” Interartive

abramovic breathing in breathing out


Breathing In/Breathing Out. Marina Abramovic and Ulay. 1977.

Breathing In/Breathing Out. Marina Abramovic and Ulay. 1977.


Breathing In/Breathing Out. Marina Abramovic and Ulay. 1977.




AAA-AAA (performance RTB, Liege), 1977
AAA-AAA centres on the relationship between two lovers. They started from an equal position to end up outdoing each other.
Abramovic, Marina; Ulay, «Rest Energy», 1980

Standing across from one another in slated position. Looking each other in the eye. I hold a bow and Ulay holds the string with the arrow pointing directly to my heart. Microphones attached to both hearts recording the increasing number of heart beats.


© 2010 Scott Rudd
In an endeavor to transmit the presence of the artist and make her historical performances accessible to a larger audience, the exhibition includes the first live re-performances of Abramović’s works by other people ever to be undertaken in a museum setting. In addition, a new, original work performed by Abramović will mark the longest duration of time that she has performed a single solo piece.
Full Video from the U of G Library

Martin Creed

Merging art and life, Martin Creed uses ordinary materials and everyday situations to create multimedia works that have confounded and delighted viewers and critics for nearly 30 years. He rejects the term “conceptual” and calls himself an “expressionist,” referring to his notion that all art stems from feeling. His works run the gamut from deadpan, minimalist interventions to rapidly rendered, expressionistic portraits. He approaches art making with humor, anxiety, and experimentation, and with the sensibility of a musician and composer, underpinning everything he does with his open ambiguity about what art is.


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Work No. 227
The lights going on and off
5 seconds on / 5 seconds off


Work No. 275
White neon


Work No. 1020

Olympic bells logo 18 (thin)2

Work No. 1197
All The Bells
3 minutes

The artist Martin Creed invited everyone in the UK to ring a bell at 8.12am on 27 July, the day of the Olympics opening ceremony, as part of his London 2012 festival project All the Bells Work No 1197.



Work No. 2630
Red Neon, Steel
21 3/5 x 50 x 2 1/8 ft / 658.6 x 1524 x 66 cm
Installation at Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York


Gillian Wearing

Gillian Wearing was born in 1963 in Birmingham, England. After settling in London in 1983, she studied at the Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths College, University of London, earning a BFA in 1990. City Racing in London hosted her first solo exhibition in 1993. In her photographs and videos, Wearing records the confessions and interactions of ordinary people she befriends through chance encounters. Her work explores the differences between public and private life, the individual and society, voyeurism and exhibitionism, and fiction and fact. In its candor and psychological intensity, Wearing’s work extends the traditions of photographic portraiture initiated by August Sander, Walker Evans, and Diane Arbus. Likewise, her oeuvre may be understood as an art-world harbinger of reality television.



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Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (Work towards world peace.)



Me as Arbus, 2008


Me as Warhol in Drag with Scar, 2010


Me as Cahun Holding a Mask of My Face, 2012


Self Portrait of Me Now in Mask, 2010


Me As Mask, 2013


Album, 2003, exhibition view