Out of Order, Out of Sight, 2-vol. set

From Writing Art

Out of Order, Out of Sight, 2-vol. set

By Adrian Piper





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 (occasionally scathing) commentary on mainstream art, art criticism, and contemporary American culture of the last twenty five years. An internationally recognized conceptual artist and the only African-American in the early conceptual art movement of the 1960s, Piper's work was strongly influenced by Sol LeWitt and first appeared in the pages of Vito Acconci's 0 to 9 magazine in 1968. Her early installations, performances, and altered photo-text pieces anticipated the genre of political montage that Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Dennis Adams, Alfredo Jaar and Cindy Sherman turned to in the 1980s and that Anna Deavere Smith explored in the 1990s. Over the years Piper's work has used many alternative perspectives and personae—the young black or white male, the upper-middle class WASP male or female—as social probes, often turning the tables on conventional expectations or assuming the attitude of the dominant culture in which she was educated. Her ambiguous position on either side of this nation's racial divide holds up for scrutiny the reaction of those who assume she is playing a part. The writings inOut of Order, Out of Sight trace the development of Piper's thinking about her artwork and the art world, and her evolving awareness of herself as a creative, racial, and gendered subject of experience situated in an often limiting and always absurd cultural and social context. The meta-art essays in Volume I document and examine her artistic practice—often humorous, frequently disturbing. The art criticism contained in Volume II confronts and analyzes the social preconditions of contemporary art practice and the cultural issues that surround it.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262161633 776 pp. | 7.87 in x 10 in


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262661546 776 pp. | 7.87 in x 10 in


  • Out of Order, Out of Sight is a life's work, a testament topassionate reason and social justice. It is also an extraordinaryintellectual and aesthetic autobiography by one of the most inspiringartist-philosophers of our times.

    Peggy Phelan

    Women's Review of Books

  • Adrian Piper is one of the most provocative, insightful, and articulate of contemporary American voices.

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Roger S. Berlind Professor, Princeton University