new-york

View of “Justin Vivian Bond,” 2011.

Justin Vivian Bond

Participant Inc.

View of “Justin Vivian Bond,” 2011.

It’s by no means a comparison with strict symmetry, but thinking recently about Justin Vivian Bond’s work and person, I was reminded of Adrian Piper. Finding herself the object of various misrecognitions and slights, Piper took to entering all social situations armed with small, printed messages; handing them out, she could expediently address many unfortunate scenarios without having to deliver again and again the time-consuming, awkward clarifications face-to-face. My Calling (Card) #2, 1986, for instance, opens with: “Dear Friend, I am black. I am sure you did not realize this when you made/laughed at/agreed with that racist remark.”

Justin Vivian Bond’s much lengthier—and, I must say, extremely patient—explanation regarding the contours of how to approach an ostensibly slippery identity position appears on Justinbond.com, under the section tagged “Bio” and otherwise

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