William Pope.L

Installation view of William Pope.L: Trinket, March 20–June 28, 2015 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, courtesy of the artist and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, photo by Brian Forrest

Foraging (asphyxia version)
Digital c-print Image
19 1/8 by 18 1/2 in.  48.6 by 47 cm.

Oil, paper, tape and cellophane on linen
84 by 60 3/4 in.  213.4 by 154.3 cm.

Fuschia Warren Buffet
Oil on linen
28 by 18 1/8 in.  71.1 by 46 cm.

Skin Set Painting: The Commons Divides Moses and Moses Divides S…
Water-based oil, acrylic on paper
Diptych, overall: 60 3/4 by 117 1/2 in.  154.3 by 298.5 cm.

Skin Set Painting: Orange People Are Rotting Rays From Ruins Refore The Last Enjoy The Griot Convey The Shrapnel Deploy
Mixed media on vellum
36 by 23 3/4 in.  91.4 by 60.3 cm.

Orange People Are The Grid On The Ceiling
Mixed media on paper
12 by 9 in.  30.5 by 22.9 cm.

Blue People Are A Drop Of Halter
Mixed media on paper
12 by 9 in.  30.5 by 22.9 cm.

091, 23-24, hre/th
Mixed media on paper
12 by 9 in.  30.5 by 22.9 cm.

Negro Idea #267
Vinyl on colored pvc
12 by 11 in.  30.5 by 27.9 cm.

Black to the Future
Vinyl on colored pvc
12 by 11 in.  30.5 by 27.9 cm.

Performance at Prospect.2, New Orleans

Cusp (Kafka Version)
Performance at FIAC, Paris

Performance, lumber, soil, sandbags, pajamas, masks, coat rack
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York

Performance Table (with Corbu Popsicle/ Hatchets dipped in black liquid and vaseline)
Photo credit: Shiloh Cinquemani

Coffin (Flag Box)
Wood construction with printed tape, CD player, speakers, metal handles, casters, vinyl grills, electrical cord and book and wood stack
54 7/8 by 72 1/4 by 44 1/4 in. 

Failure Drawing #636 Far Above the Ocean
Ink, acrylic, ballpoint pen, oil stick, marker, correction fluid on map
24 3/4 by 32 in.  62.9 by 81.3 cm.

Purple People are the Rhyme in the Skyout Exactly Against the Red Against the Blue Against the Black Against the Glass Against the Sun
Graph paper, bic pen, marker, white-out, and acrylic

White People are a Desalination Plant in Puerto Rico
Graph paper, bic pen, marker, white-out, and acrylic
11 by 8 1/2 in.  27.9 by 21.6 cm.

Failure Drawing #1
Acrylic, ballpoint pen, oil stick, marker, correction fluid, coffee, paper, cellphone tape, colored pencil on hotel stationery
31 7/8 by 22 in.  81 by 55.9 cm.

The Space Between One Mask and Another and Another...
Photo montage
40 by 48 in.  101.6 by 121.9 cm.

Acrylic, oil marker, ink, masking tape, gel medium, cellphone tape on photograph
60 by 36 in.  152.4 by 91.4 cm.

Failure Drawing #33 Red Clouds
Ink, black marker, ballpoint pen, acrylic, stains and newspaper collage on joined brown paper
4 3/4 by 9 7/8 in. 12.1 by 25.1 cm.

Failure Drawing #386 Worm in Class Circa
Ballpoint pen and watercolor on newspaper over card
4 1/2 by 6 5/16 in.  11.4 by 16 cm.

Failure Drawing #252 Green Sky Red Mountain
Ink and colored marker on hotel stationery
5 1/2 by 4 1/4 in.  14 by 10.8 cm.

Failure Drawing #807 Rocket Water, Greyhound Schedule
Ballpoint pen, ink color marker and acrylic on printed paper
4 3/4 by 4 in.  12.1 by 10.2 cm.

Snow Crawl
Wood, mirror, TV. dvd, sandbags
117 by 30 by 30 in.  297.2 by 76.2 by 76.2 cm.

Foraging (Animal Husbandry)
Archival Iris print sheet
35 by 47 in.  88.9 by 119.4 cm.

The Great White Way, 22 miles, 9 years, 1 street (Whitney version #2)
Video Duration: 6:35 minutes

William Pope.L

Born 1955, Newark, NJ.
Lives and works in Chicago, IL.

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May 5, 2010
William Pope.L Cusp
Dec 3, 2008
William Pope.L at the Rubell Collection
December 3 - November 28, 2009

Selected Press

2015.07 Creative Insider's Iconic Manhattan Artists
July 10, 2013
William Pope.L on “Acting a Fool” and Alternative Futures
By Samuel Jablon

Chicago-based artist William Pope.L works in a variety of mediums, including painting, spoken word, installation, and performance, to challenge ideas of race and social stereotypes. His practice questions society’s claims on identity and the body. Pope.L has famously crawled all over New York City: for his piece “Tompkins Square Crawl” (1991), he climbed through the gutters of Tompkins Square Park in a suit, and in “The Great White Way,” he crawled the entire 22 miles of Broadway over a period of five years wearing a superman suit with a skateboard slung over his back. He has eaten an issue of the Wall Street Journal while sitting on a toilet in his piece, “Eating the Wall Street Journal” (2000). He copyrighted his personal slogan: “The Friendliest Black Artist in America©.” His paintings and sculptures often use a variety of white foods: mayonnaise, flour, and milk. Pope.L is a master of, in his words, “genre-hopping”; he does not sit still, he’s constantly in motion challenging ideas of who we are, what we are, and what it means to be American.

Download PDF Hyperallergic
June 2, 2015
William Pope.L: LOS ANGELES, at Museum of Contemporary Art
Art in America
By Annie Buckley

William Pope.L’s powerful exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary subtly replaces passive viewing with multisensory experience. The show teems with possibilities for heightened sensation—smell, touch, vision and hearing—and draws on Pope.L’s decades of performance and video work to evoke the kinds of physical and psychical shifts a performer might experience. At the center of this selection of nine mixed-medium pieces dating from 1992 to the present is Trinket (2008/2015), a 16-by-45-foot American flag blown by four large industrial fans of the type used to simulate tornadoes on movie sets.

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May 6, 2015
William Pope.L: Trinket
Brooklyn Rail
By Terry R. Myers

“Twenty years ago all the ambitious young painters I knew in New York saw abstract art as the only way out.” This sentence, the start of Clement Greenberg’s 1962 essay “After Abstract Expressionism,” provides a particular way into William Pope.L’s determined exhibition at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Those painters of the 1940s, to Greenberg at least, were trying to leave behind not so much representational art, given their relative commitment to the progressive aims of modernism, but more the visuality of illusion itself. Pope.L, like most of the critical artists of his generation, understood that those aims were just as oppressive of the potent interplay of abstraction, representation, and illusion that remains with us today, as they were of artists themselves. This exhibition presents a focused selection of key works of Pope.L’s that reinforce and reconfigure categories like painting, sculpture, performance, photography, and video in order, it seems, to maintain any way out of a category or situation as another way in, even if the entire show happens to be dominated by a work made with an enormous flag of the United States of America.

Download PDF The Brooklyn Rail
March 28, 2015
New MOCA flag exhibit waves democracy in
ABC News
By Adrienne Alpert

An American flag half the size of a football field is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Little Tokyo.

The 50-foot long piece constantly waves by the force of four huge industrial fans under bright lights that go on and off.

But this is no ordinary oversized flag. Its field is longer and the ends are frayed. The union bears 51 stars, not 50.

It is not so much Old Glory, as much as a new glory envisioned by the artist William Pope.L.

Download PDF ABC News
March 24, 2015
William Pope.L sets the U.S. flag waving at the MOCA/Geffen
Los Angeles Times
By Christopher Knight

"Trinket" is a monumental 2008 installation sculpture by Newark-born, Chicago-based artist William Pope.L, 59, that put the disheartening display of media-mad political theater into devastating perspective. Centered on Old Glory, its title references the lapel pin. [...]

Download PDF Los Angeles Times
March 19, 2015
William Pope.L Makes Statements afarom the Fringes
New York Times
By Jori Finkel

"LOS ANGELES — It was a plaintive sight: a monumental American flag drooping so low on its pole that it would touch the ground were it not for a wood platform. The artist William Pope.L was tending to the flag carefully. He lifted the tail end, where the stripes were separated at the seams, and spread them apart, the way you might separate a girl’s long hair before braiding it.

“This is just to make sure it catches properly and doesn’t tangle,” he said. An assistant switched on four large Ritter fans, the kind used by movie studios to whip up 40-mile-an-hour winds.

Soon the flag was flying high, a wild, hydra-like form. Only it was not flying in the open air but inside the belly of the Geffen Contemporary, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art here, where Mr. Pope.L was readying his largest museum show to date.  [...]"

Download PDF New York Times
March 16, 2015
William Pope.L wants to bring down the house
The Art Newspaper
By Charlotte Burns

The largest-ever museum presentation of work by William Pope.L could, quite literally, raise the roof. The centerpiece of the exhibition, Trinket, 2008, is a massive custom-made American flag—around 50 by 20 feet—which will be hung from a pole in the middle of the Geffen Contemporary gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and blown about by four industrial fans of such strength that the flag’s ends will start to fray. The wind force is such that the building’s ventilation system has been reconfigured to make sure the roof stays intact.

Download PDF The Art Newspaper
February 20, 2015
William Pope.L
Artforum: 500 Words
As told to Zachary Cahill

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
February 17, 2015
By Dan Duray

"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). [...]"

Download PDF Artnews
February 2015
Material Witness
By David Joselit

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 2015

Download PDF Artforum
February 2013
Interview Magazine
William Pope.L

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.  

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February 2012
Prospect.2 New Orleans
Eva Diaz

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. 

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Published: October 1, 2009
The New York Times
Art in Review—WILLIAM POPE.L
Holland Cotter

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.

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December 2008
Art News
Reviews: New York
Kim Levin

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. 

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October 13, 2008
The New Yorker

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.

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