Performance Artist – William Pope.L

William Pope.L

William Pope.L

US artist – Performance artist, Interventionist Art

Pope.L has perfected crawling as his particular kind of disruption. He has traversed a substantial portion of New York City (and parts of Europe) on his hands, knees, stomach, and elbows, wearing everything from a Superman costume to a sports jersey and Nike sneakers. For his inaugural crawl, in 1978, the artist slowly made his way down Forty-second Street, passing Times Square, wearing a pin-striped suit with a yellow square stitched onto its back. Photos taken during the crawl await visitors at “member,” a career retrospective of the artist’s work at the newly reopened Museum of Modern Art. In a five-image slideshow, a young Pope.L looks soiled and exhausted in the afternoon sun as the city goes about its day, indifferent to his actions. But a small success can be gleaned from the twisted faces of the bystanders as they struggle to comprehend a well-dressed black man dutifully hugging the asphalt. Was he mocking the homeless? Was he actually homeless, or mentally ill? But what really matters is that the bystanders are looking. …

Pope.L is a choreographer of urban limbo. As he lingered at the back of the crawl, wearing an unbuttoned oxford shirt, with a backpack slung over his shoulder, he said, “To not move at the same rhythm of the city is a form of resistance. For some people, that’s a smack in the face. What do you mean, you’re not working? The mythology of the city is about this energy, this forward movement, but the pace I was moving was not an acceptable pace.” He nodded toward the spectacle stretched before him. “If you’re going to move at all, why that speed? It’s suspicious, you know?” (via The New Yorker)


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