Pope.L, ‘Gold People Bling The Happenstance, red, orange, brown, gold on linen canvas’, 2014, Galerie Catherine Bastide

About Pope.L

William Pope.L, who calls himself “The Friendliest Black Artist in America©” and is among the foremost contemporary performance artists, addresses labor, race, and identity in projects both searing and humorous. His work, which also includes photographs, sculptures, writings, paintings, drawings, and community projects, aligns with Fluxus. Asked if he considers himself an activist, he replied: “When people use the word activism today, it sounds like after-ism...The space I create in my work for others is more formalist, like, ‘change the world’” Among his numerous iconic pieces is The Great White Way, 22 miles, 9 years, 1 street (begun 1990), for which Pope.L donned a cape-less Superman costume, strapped a skateboard to his back, and dragged himself up the entire length of Manhattan’s Broadway—a visceral, ridiculous, poignant display, or, in his words, “public prostration in motion.”

American, b. 1955, Newark, New Jersey, based in Chicago, Illinois

Exhibition Highlights

2017
New York, NY, United States,
The 2017 Whitney Biennial
2016