The Museum of Modern Art presents member: Pope.L, 1978–2001, an exhibition of 13 landmark, career-defining performances by the multidisciplinary artist Pope.L, on view from October 21, 2019, through January 2020.
Pope.L (b. 1955) is a consummate trickster whose practice across multiple mediums—including performance, painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, theater, and video—utilizes abjection, humor, endurance, and absurdity to undermine rigid categories of difference. The performances included in this exhibition span from 1978 to 2001 and will be represented through a combination of videos, photographs, sculptural elements, ephemera, and live actions. member: Pope.L, 1978–2001 is organized by Stuart Comer, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance, with Danielle A. Jackson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance.
Works in the exhibition include those rooted in experimental theater, such as Egg Eating Contest (1990), Aunt Jenny Chronicles (1991), and Eracism (2000), as well as street interventions such as Thunderbird Immolation a.k.a. Meditation Square Piece (1978), Times Square Crawl a.k.a. Meditation Square Piece (1978), Tompkins Square Crawl a.k.a. How Much Is That Nigger in the Window (1991), ATM Piece (1996), and The Great White Way: 22 miles, 9 years, 1 street (2001–09), among others. Together, these works highlight the role performance has played within a seditious, emphatically interdisciplinary career that has established Pope.L as an essential and influential force in contemporary art. Additionally, these early works form a snapshot of the profound social, cultural, and economic shifts in New York City throughout the 1980s and ’90s.
MoMA will publish a comprehensive, fully illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Presenting a detailed study of these investigations, as well as overarching topics Pope.L has explored throughout his career, the publication will establish key details for each work and articulate how the artist continues to think about the legacy of these ephemeral projects unfolding in time.
MoMA’s presentation is part of Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration, a trio of complementary exhibitions organized by MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Public Art Fund. Utilizing both public and private spaces, the expansive presentation will address many elements of the artist’s oeuvre, from seminal early works to a monumental new installation and a new performative work inspired by the artist’s iconic crawl series.