Friday, November 20, 2009

Vanilla Nightmares #2; 1986

Vanilla Nightmare is a charcoal and red crayon drawing, it is done on a tan wove paper, better known as newsprint and there is erasing present, too. The newspaper that was used for these drawing is The New York Times. The drawing is 60 by 70.3 cm (23 5.8 by 27 5/8 in.) This drawing was finished in 1986. This piece shows a women lying down, she is drawn right in the print of the paper. The other side of the drawing shows a face with white eyes. Over the face there is writing in red crayon: “Solution-solution- The Bla K Space” This particular drawing is one of a series of 20 drawings also done with charcoal and red crayon and focusinf on .

In the 1980s, Piper sharpened the focus of her artwork, by applying her meditational concept of the indexical present to the interpersonal dynamics of racism and racial stereotyping” (“Wikipedia”) Vanilla Nightmares #2 is exploring these different racial problems. (“Wikipedia”) This work was drawn on June 20, 1986 issue of The New York Times. On the left side of the drawing “sprawled across several articles dealing with apartheid, is a reclining black nude female whose impassive gaze belies her availability, indicated not only by her outstretched limbs but also by the column of type that rises between her open legs” (“Museum Studies). The face on the right is of a large, bald black person, with black eyes and the gender is unknown. The phrase “Bla[n]k space” “refers to a discussion, on the opposite page, of a form of official censorship according to which South African newspapers published blank, white spaces where articles or photographs that the government found objectionable should have been” (“Museum Studies”) The blackness on the women’s thigh and her left breast is an example of the government taking out a part of the newspaper that they feel is inappropriate. Taking knowledge that a person has the right to know away from them. “Piper’s figures, aptly described by art critic Lucy Lippard as ‘impassive intruders [that] infiltrate and overlay the marching columns of print, emerging from the shadows like slaves whispering behind the plantation house,’ are at once haunting and threatening, the stuff of nightmares for those in power” (“Museum Studies”).

I like this drawing a lot because of the expresions on the faces. The woman on the left looks very content and comfortable. While the face on the right looks blank, and unreadable. I also like how the bla k part of the painting could be black or blank. I think she is meaning that being a black person is like being blank because the from her viewpoint she still has to fight equality. When she lets people know that she is black they are awkward and unfriendly. The red-crayon solution part of the drawing, to me, means that she is trying to make the line between being black and "blank" disappear. She wants to be racially equal with everyone.


"Adrian Piper." Wikipedia. 22 11 2009, Web. 18 Nov 2009. .

"Portfolio of works By African American Artists." Museum Studies. 2000. The Art institute of Chicago, Web. 18 Nov 2009.

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