Friday, November 20, 2009

"Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features" (1981)

This piece is apart of a side-by-side self portrait of Piper herself. It is a pencil drawing where she “emphasizes her broad nose, full lips, and luxuriant Afro hairdo (Giuliano). She has a very direct gaze in this drawing. It is almost as if the gaze is “emblematic of how her art confronts you” (Giuliano).

Also apart of this work is a 1995 photograph altered with oil crayon, "Self-Portrait as a Nice White Lady." Piper still has the no-nonsense expression, but her hair is long and straight rather than a wild afro. Pipers painted the background of the photo a vivid red, “prompting you to wonder if this person is nice or angry” (Giuliano). This piece in my opinion is one of her more famous works. This is a very emotionally dry, “modest attack on racial stereotyping that makes most of Ms. Piper's other work, by comparison, seem heavy-handed and calculated” (Johnson).

This is a very emotional piece. I can see how she was split between being a white girl with straight blond hair in the one drawing and then her true heritage of being black in the other self-portrait. This would be a difficult way to live life, it is almost as if she is living with a split personality. As I was researching this work, one of the pages said this was a mug-shot. I didn't think of it as one when I first seen it but then I realized that it looked a lot like a mug shot. Piper does a good job making this self-portrait portray her feelings. Almost all of her work is about sexual and racial tensions. This one does a good job on showing what it is like to be a black female during this time. The mug shot view is how a black person would feel when they walk into a room of people that they do not know.


Giuliano, Mike. "Color Schemes." City Paper. 03 11 1999. Fine Arts Gallery, Web. 23 Nov 2009. .

Johnson, Ken. "Art In Review." The New York Times. 17 11 2000. The New York Times, Web. 23 Nov 2009.

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