This street performance was Pope.L’s first Crawl, a practice that would become a hallmark of his career over the next four decades. In Times Square Crawl, Pope.L lowered himself to his hands and knees and traversed a run-down stretch of West Forty-Second Street then known as the Deuce. Before a massive redevelopment project in the 1990s transformed Times Square into an epicenter of tourism and commerce, the area was notorious for its adult entertainment industry, drug trade, and homeless encampments.
Dressed in a business suit with a yellow square sewn to the back, Pope.L drew curious stares from pedestrians. By “giving up verticality,” the artist insisted on the visibility and value of homeless people, who have counted among their number members of his own family. His professional attire served to underscore the deep rift between aspirations of upward mobility and the absence of opportunity for many dispossessed communities in America.
Gallery label from October 21, 2019–February 1, 2020