Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Art 50: Chicago's Artists' Artists


44. William Pope.L
Best known for crawling through the streets of New York wearing a Superman outfit, William Pope.L, the self-proclaimed "friendliest black artist in America," has created numerous public actions-like holding the door to an ATM lobby while tied to the bank with a link of sausages and encouraging customers to take a piece of his dollar-bill skirt, and chewing and spitting out a copy of the Wall Street Journal. He has displayed unwrapped Pop-Tarts defaced with racist graffiti, and an elephant sculpture covered in decaying peanut butter. For an upcoming collaboration with Spaces Gallery in Cleveland, and sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, Pope.L will be convincing locals in the city's segregated neighborhoods to work together in pulling a truck through the streets, while also deploying the truck, used in the past for his mobile "Black Factory" interventions, as a surface for a "newspaper," and a film comprised of residents' stills and footage expressing their dreams for the potential of Cleveland. He follows not only Adrian Piper and David Hammons but also Sun Ra and Screamin' Jay Hawkins in acting out the abject fantasies underpinning the absurdity of black male identity-and, by extension, all American identities.

(emphasis added by SPACES)


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