William Pope.L

Thickeye has piqued my interest to go see William Pope.L's show at Artists Space. The video work looks particularly interesting. Actually that's not a very good word: try wrenching, heartbreaking, black-humorous (in a dual sense)... I say that based not on seeing the work but checking out this web page discussing Pope.L's "crawl pieces" such as The Great White Way: 22 miles, 5 years, 1 street, 2002, then reading Thickeye's description:

I really liked his old school performance stuff [...] which includes portions of his Great White Way wherein he crawls around portions of Manhattan wearing a suit and tie. While I had read about this before and seen still images they do not convey the degree to which this performance is about time, tedium and the agony of the slow. It's really painful to watch the pace as he crawls, flowers in hand, his glasses falling partially off, and hanging from his sweaty face. While the piece is about race and the "other" in many obvious ways, for me, the portion that most interestingly touched on the layers of otherness was when two other black men, seeing him crawling (and presumably the camera man) attempt to get him to stand up. While I could not hear what they were saying (though there is sound included) as a silent act to me they did not want him exhibiting his otherness, brandishing it with such bravado, bringing attention to their own (from both inside themselves and outside). I will probably write a more formal review of the show after I go for a visit during a more mellow time. The best part was probably getting one of his business cards that has his name and "friendliest black artist in America."
The "formal review" did get written and appears on The Blowup Review site. It's well worth reading, but good luck finding it in that unlinkable frame-o-rama (hint: look over on the right and use that scroller).

UPDATE: D'oh, I assumed because the Pope.L exhibit was on the front page of the Artists Space website, that it was still up. It closed Feb. 21.

UPDATE 2: The Pope.L "crawling" performances have a lot in common with Momoyo Torimitsu's robotic dummies of bellycrawling salarymen (currently at Deitch Projects--see photo in the comments to this post). Momoyo used to walk one around the city streets wearing a nurse's uniform, which was a nice macabre touch. I first saw her work around '96 or '97. When did Pope.L start crawling? Did he know Momoyo's work or vice versa? Is anyone else asking these questions?

- tom moody 2-26-2004 1:22 am


The Pope.L "crawling" performances have a lot in common with Momoyo Torimitsu's robotic dummies of slithering businessmen (currently at Deitch Projects but turned off most of the time, according to artnet). Momoyo used to walk one of these guys around the city streets wearing a nurse's uniform, which was a nice macabre touch. I first saw her work around '96 or '97. When did Pope.L start crawling? Did he know Momoyo's work or vice versa? Has anyone else asked these questions?

Momoyo Torimitsu

- tom moody 3-02-2004 6:26 am [add a comment]





add a comment to this page:

Your post will be captioned "posted by anonymous,"
or you may enter a guest username below:


Line breaks work. HTML tags will be stripped.