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