Pope.L Eating the Wall Street Journal (3rd version) 2000

Eating the Wall Street Journal was conceived when Pope.L encountered an advertising campaign claiming that a mere subscription to the newspaper would multiply one’s wealth. Taking this assertion to its absurd conclusion, Pope.L figured, “shouldn’t ingesting [the paper] increase your wealth tenfold?” This logic became the basis of the performance.

To stage it, the artist constructed a tall, four-legged throne with a toilet as the seat. Over the course of five days for three to four hours each day, Pope.L sat atop the throne, reading the Wall Street Journal. Resembling a “gargoyle mounted on a castle parapet,” he wore only a jockstrap and doused himself in flour, a manufactured and consumable form of whiteness. Once Pope.L finished reading the paper, he tore it into strips, chewed the strips (lubricated with milk and ketchup), and spat out the macerated globs. Through this ritual, Pope.L pointedly links the Journal’s promotion of capitalist ideals to the inequities that shape the lives of the disenfranchised.

Gallery label from October 21, 2019–February 1, 2020
Medium
Video (color, sound; 2:54 min.); five inkjet prints; fabricated wood and metal structure; toilet; newspaper; fishing pole; pillow; Heinz Ketchup bottles, milk cartons
Credit
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
Object number
82.2019.1-7
Copyright
© 2019 Pope.L. Courtesy of the artist.
Department
Media and Performance
Research in progress; information about this work may be incomplete.

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