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
Video (color, sound; 2:54 min.); five inkjet prints; fabricated wood and metal structure; toilet; newspaper; fishing pole; pillow; Heinz Ketchup bottles, milk cartons
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
© 2019 Pope.L. Courtesy of the artist.
Media and Performance
Research in progress; information about this work may be incomplete.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.