Three Untitled Projects (1969) by Adrian Piper

Adrian Piper, Three Untitled Projects [for 0 to 9], 1969, ed. 162, will be on view at Specific Object at Susan Inglett Gallery during Independent 20th Century

Three Untitled Projects, also known as Three Untitled Booklets, is considered Adrian Piper’s first exhibition. It was a site-specific exploration of identifying place, and it took the form of three mimeographed books, which she mailed to artists, curators, critics, and collectors in the Spring of 1969. In addition to the books, each recipient of the show got a list of all 162 locations for the show–the list of all the mailing’s recipients–with their name and location highlighted.

As David Platzker of Specific Objects wrote in the catalogue of the artist’s 2018 MoMA retrospective, Piper, a student at SVA, was hired as a secretary by Seth Siegelaub during his last gallery exhibition, in January 1969:

Piper, between her gallery responsibilities, clandestinely copied Siegelaub’s Rolodex, utilizing the dealer’s mailing list to distribute copies of her artist’s project, a set of three untitled books she intended as independent works titled Three Untitled Projects [for 0 to 9]: Some Areas in the New York Area (1969).

The triptych publication, in concert with its means of distribution, expanded on Adrian Piper’s inquiry into spatial relationships as fixed constructions defined by the limits of the human mind. By putting the project directly in the hands of her influential intended recipients, Piper utilized one of the significant strengths of artists’ books, which is to extend works of art to individuals—domestically and internationally—who might not otherwise see the work in a gallery setting. Piper’s project became a primary example of how publications traverse not just fixed locations, but the durational nature of presenting art in fixed locations.

I love that so much.

Piper was associated with 0 to 9, the art journal and artist publishing project of Vito Acconci and Bernadette Mayer, which ran for six issues and a supplement beginning in 1967 and ending in 1969. Which is wild; you’d think scoring Seth Siegelaub’s mailing list would set a mimeographed mail art operation up for life.

An edition of Three Untitled Projects will be included in an exhibition, whose title–I think it’s the title?–is a Judd quote: “I Can’t See How I Can Be Outside of the Society–So I Am Within It,” Specific Object at Susan Inglett Gallery, at the Independent 20th Century Fair in New York, 8-11 September, 2022.

Ugly Duckling Presse reissued 0 to 9 a few years ago as a single volume trade edition and in a signed, facsimile special edition. It does not include Three Untitled Projects. []