member: Pope. L, 1978-2001

Pope.L (American, born 1955). _Member a.k.a. Schlong Journey, 125th Street, New York_. 1996. 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. Member a.k.a. Schlong Journey. 1996 345

Pope.L (American, born 1955). Member a.k.a. Schlong Journey, 125th Street, New York. 1996. 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: Someone said, “Well, why don't you ever do any of these things in a black community?” (laughs) And I said, “Sure, I'll think about that. Taking the work to black folk.” And I said, “Well what do black folk need? What would they like in their day? I thought well, yeah, a little whiteness. And in what form? That was a problem, like what form would that whiteness take.” And since I was bringing it, “What form would a black person want to bring to his own people?”

It was quite a puzzle, until I came upon this idea. I found the bunny first and then I found the schlong. It's a penile object, but its parts are kind of wonky. They don't kind of belong together. So I took on this role of being the fool. But a fool with things to do and places to go. And I knew it had to have moments where okay: He has his rabbit. He has his schlong. He has his rabbit-schlong moment. Oh, here comes the egg! What's that about?

And I really love it when this condom like object. The fact you could see my headness through the gloveness - was of interest to me. For me, it's all about producing this set of signifiers that inform each other.

I knew that from having spent time on 125th Street for most of my life, if you're gonna do anything in a theater space of New York, this would be a really interesting place to do it. The people on the Street in Harlem, they really made the work. I knew that they would be very judgmental. You know, they would have things to say. And in a sense, I wanted them to have something to say something about.

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