member: Pope. L, 1978-2001

Pope.L (American, born 1955). _Times Square Crawl a.k.a. Meditation Square Piece, Times Square, New York_. 1978. Inkjet print, 10 × 15" (25.4 × 38.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired in part through the generosity of Jill and Peter Kraus, Anne and Joel S. Ehrenkranz, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art , The Jill and Peter Kraus Media and Performance Acquisition Fund, and Jill and Peter Kraus in honor of Michael Lynne. © Pope.L, courtesy the artist

Pope.L. Times Square Crawl. 1978 341

Pope.L (American, born 1955). Times Square Crawl a.k.a. Meditation Square Piece, Times Square, New York. 1978. Inkjet print, 10 × 15" (25.4 × 38.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired in part through the generosity of Jill and Peter Kraus, Anne and Joel S. Ehrenkranz, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art , The Jill and Peter Kraus Media and Performance Acquisition Fund, and Jill and Peter Kraus in honor of Michael Lynne. © Pope.L, courtesy the artist

Pope.L: Hi, my name is Pope.L, and this is my exhibition.

Times Square Crawl came out of early thinking about the crisis in New York of being homeless and the spectacular presence of people lying on the street. I had a personal connection to this enactment, I had relatives who I knew at that time were on the street.

I decided I wanted to wear a uniform or costume that would be about the “haves," but I wanted to do an activity that bodily suggested the "have-nots." So you had your suit, you had your tie, you had your white shirt. So you're operating in a way like you can take care of yourself. You're on your two feet. You're moving forward. You have a sense of your vertical self. But on the other hand, I wanted this other aspect and that would be the horizontal. “I've given up. I don't know where I'm going. I'm operating close to the ground.” So there was this mixture of signals in the piece.

To perform, you have to find power in being someone else. You always want to be clear about your separation between yourself and what you're characterizing. But because these things took a while, I was usually crawling for long periods of time, I would forget. So the suit in a way allowed me to protect myself from the act of doing it.

Doing Times Square Crawl, there's a lot to pay attention to. I was crossing in traffic. And it takes a long time to crawl across a New York thoroughfare. I was interrupted by a policeman at some point. He thought I was inebriated, or crazy or both. I wasn't loitering. I was actually moving. So he actually had all the traffic stopped, so I had this great audience. It was actually quite a moment.

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