The Museum of Modern Art announces member: Pope.L, 1978–2001, an exhibition of landmark performances and related videos, objects, and installations by the multidisciplinary artist Pope.L, on view from October 21, 2019, through January 2020. Pope.L (b. 1955) is a consummate thinker and provocateur whose practice across multiple mediums—including painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, theater, and video—utilizes abjection, humor, endurance, language, and absurdity to confront and undermine rigid systems of belief. Spanning works made primarily from 1978 to 2001, the exhibition features 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 an emphatically interdisciplinary career that has established Pope.L as a critical 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.
The exhibition is presented as part of The Hyundai Card Performance Series. Major support is provided by The Jill and Peter Kraus Endowed Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions and The Jon Stryker Endowment. Additional support is provided by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art, Nancy and David Frej, Barbara Karp Shuster, and Ann and Mel Schaffer.
Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, The Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Alice and Tom Tisch, The David Rockefeller Council, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, The Keith Haring Foundation, and The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art.
Major contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund are provided by the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Karen and Gary Winnick, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Clarissa Alcock and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Agnes Gund, and Oya and Bülent Eczacıbaşı.