Skip Navigation

Pretend #2

Adrian Piper

Pretend #2 is constructed from three images of women with their young children. As in most of her work, both as a philosopher and as an artist, Adrian Piper addresses the social and economic imbalance of our world and the issue of racism. In the central image a Caucasian mother smiles proudly, looking straight into the camera. She seems unaware of the anguish of the African mother at the left or the Asian mother at the right. The silkscreened text across the bottom, “Pretend not to know what you know,” connects the three images and forces the viewer to contemplate the frequent denials we choose to make to lessen the pangs of conscience.
MEDIUM Gelatin silver photographs with silkscreened text
DATES 1990
DIMENSIONS overall: 43 7/8 x 98 in. (111.4 x 248.9 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Fund
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.

The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact

If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email and we will assist if we can.
CAPTION Adrian Piper (American, born 1948). Pretend #2, 1990. Gelatin silver photographs with silkscreened text, overall: 43 7/8 x 98 in. (111.4 x 248.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Fund, 1991.51a-c. © Adrian Piper
IMAGE overall, 1991.51a-c_slide_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.