Adrian Piper, a New York native, studied art at the School of Visual arts, and at City College of New York. Interestingly enough, she also studied Philosophy at Harvard, and is currently a Philosophy professor at Wellesley College of Massachusetts. Her work entitled Calling Card was done in 1985 and 1986. This piece is a silent way of Piper letting her unknowing audience know that she is indeed a black woman. Her issues with race were due to the fact that she was a light-skinned African American. The card itself was a 2" x 3 1/2" piece of paper; however the message spoke volumes.
This piece did more than announce that she was an African-American woman, it immediately put the reader on the defensive. The card was a way of her making her point, without providing an opportunity for the reader to verbally react to her. Instead, it caused the reader to have somewhat of an inner-debate with themselves as, when one reads the card it would appear in some form, that the card was insinuating they were a racist. This work came along at a great time. Although the Civil Rights movement had previously occurred, there was still the long standing issue of racism in this country. However, the early and mid 1980's was a period of increased social awareness.
When I view this piece it appears to me that Piper, perhaps drawing from her philosophical studies, was causing people to re-examine themselves, and the society in which they lived. This was done by such artists as Marina Abramovic, who would subject her body in exhibitions resulting in displays of the good, and bad traits of people. This could bring about astounding, yet alarming results. While some may simply have discarded the calling card, others may have re-examined themselves resulting in perhaps even a slight increase in the evolving of social awareness.