Adrian Piper’s Mythic Being

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.

I found this piece of text very interesting to read, unlike previous texts I have been assigned this one was easy to read and understand. No complex terminology was used it was straight to the point in the book, Adrian Piper: race, gender, and embodimentJohn Parish Bowles, Adrian Piper 2011. 

I found the piece The Mythic Being unusual but also brilliant, Adrian Piper uses herself to convey an underlying message about white supremacy. Confronting new friends by handing them letters, asking lots of rhetorical questions to the viewers of her pieces and quite literally living up or acting up to the black stereotype.


She does this as she is told she could ‘pass for white’ so not a lot of people can tell that she is in fact black, this is a point she is trying to make. Her style of presenting some of her work in The Mythic Being is comic book style photography, scribbling over photographs of herself and adding speech bubble with things that the classic black stereotype would say and wear. She not only acts like The Mythic Being, she embodies him, taking in all the reactions a man of this calibre would in situations.



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