member

Pope.L, 1978–2001

  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 South The Edward Steichen Galleries

Referring to himself as “a fisherman of social absurdity,” Pope.L has developed a body of work that poses provocative questions about a culture consumed with success yet riven by social, racial, and economic conflict. Resisting easy categorization, his career encompasses theatrical performances, street actions, language, painting, video, drawing, installation, and sculpture. Pope.L’s work explores the fraught connection between prosperity and what he calls “have-not-ness.” This tension is heightened by the presentation of these subversive artworks within a major art museum.

member: Pope.L, 1978–2001 focuses on a group of landmark performances that have defined the artist as a consummate agitator and humorist who has used his body to examine division and inequality on the streets and stages of New York City and in the more rustic environs of Maine, where he taught for 20 years.

The title member ponders the terms and stakes of membership for a provocateur who constantly strives “to reinvent what’s beneath us, to remind us where we all come from,” making material out of categories of race, gender, and citizenship that are intimately entwined.


The artist has made the video in the artwork Snow Crawl accessible in an alternate format. Please approach a security officer in the exhibition for access.

Organized by Stuart Comer, The Lonti Ebers Chief Curator of Media and Performance, Department of Media and Performance, with Danielle A. Jackson, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance. Performances produced by Lizzie Gorfaine, Producer, with Beatrice Johnson, Assistant Performance Coordinator, Performance and Live Programs.

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.

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, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Nancy and David Frej, Barbara Karp Shuster, and Ann and Mel Schaffer.

MoMA Audio is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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, The Contemporary Arts Council, Anne Dias, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, The Keith Haring Foundation, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro.

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.

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