Born 1955, Newark, NJ.
Lives and works in Chicago, IL.
A mainstay of performance and installation art since the 1970s, William Pope.L will open the largest museum show of his work to date at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, on March 20, 2015. Trinket, 2008, the centerpiece work, and also the title of the show, is a large-scale American flag that will be blown continuously during the museum’s public hours by a bank of industrial fans. Here, Pope.L discusses the show, which runs until June 28, 2015.Download PDF Artforum
"At the start of her talk with William Pope.L at the College Art Association conference on Friday, part of the “Annual Distinguished Artists'” interview series, MoMA PS1 curator
Jenny Schlenzka told Pope.L that she was happy to be speaking to him.
“Well I’m happy to be a distinguished artist,” Pope.L replied, to laughter. “FINALLY.”
The hour-and-a-half-long talk covered many elements of Pope.L’s work, including his best-known performance pieces, and lingered on a more recent development in the
artist’s career: his appearance on the February cover of Artforum, a photograph of a performance in which he appears to be suffocating in a plastic bag titled Foraging
(Asphyxia Version) (1993–95/2008). [...]"
Art Historian David Joselit takes up the case of Eric Garner and its challenge to the very concept of visual evidence or representation--and its denial of images and objects as evidence of fact. Joselit considers the possibility of critical and artistic practices that may counter such failures of representation, instead staging a refusal or representation--a refusal perhaps nowhere more potent than in the performances of William Pope.L, whether the artist is literally ingesting and expelling information, in Eating the Wall Street Journal, 1991-2000, or, in Foraing (Asphyxia Version), 1993-95/2008, covering his head with a white plastic bag that he clutches tightly below his chin. Is this act of self-erasure a gesture of annihilation, as the word asphyxia suggests, or is it a strategic subtraction of the body from a sphere in which that body cannot be represented anyway--cannot be visible or evident, or is subject to censure and repression?
*Text source: Artforum, Febuary 2015Download PDF Artforum
Beginning in th elate '90s, Wiliam Pope.L famously crawled along 22 miles of sidewalk, from the beginning to the end of Broadway - Manhattan's longest street - wearing a capeless Superman outfit with a skateboard strapped to his back.Download PDF
When curator Dan Cameron inaugurated Prospect New Orleans in 2008, billed as the largest international biennial in the United States it was an act not merely of post-Hurricane Katrina revitalization but of civic reinvention. Though it received virtually no funding from depleted state or city offers, Prospect 1 generated a great deal of curiosity, goodwill, and private patronage and brought contemporary art to the city in an unprecedented way.Download PDF
In 1961, the artist Allan Kaprow, who coined the term happenings, created an installation in a small open-air courtyard behind the Martha Jackson Gallery at 32 East 69th Street. He wrapped several sculptures already there — a Giacometti and a Barbara Hepworth — in protective tar paper, then filled the space with hundreds of old automobile tires, tossing them around to make piles that visitors were invited to climb.Download PDF
William Pope.L, who may well be the best underknown artist around, has long been doing amazing work at the frayed edges where the art world meets Wall Street and the inner city. He is best known for his performances, which have included eating and regurgitating copies of the Wall Street Journal, and crawling on his belly like a worm.Download PDF
Pope.L lines the gallery with more than a hundred small drawings made in transit since 2003—on airplane napkins, newspaper photographs, hotel stationery, a Howard Johnson's shoe mitt, and so on. The images tend toward the humorously sexual, with plenty of bespectacled worms, volcanoes, and explosions.Download PDF