Street Harassment and Contemporary Art

March 12, 2015 5:33 PM

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Street Harassment and Contemporary Art

In 1986, Adrian Piper began handing out small cards in bars when, after repeated rebuffs, individuals continued to make unwelcome advances. “Dear Friend,” they read. “I am not here to pick anyone up, or to be picked up. I am here alone because I want to be here, ALONE.”

Existing as both a work of art and as a practical defense, Piper’s cards foreshadow the types of actions many artists and activists have used since to combat such unwanted attention. While the term street harassment was barely in the general lexicon when Piper created My Calling (Card) #2 (for Bars ...

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