In 1991 Pope.L participated in a residency at Franklin Furnace, an alternative arts space in New York City. During the residency, he staged Tompkins Square Crawl in the guise of his alter ego, Mr. Poots. Wearing a business suit and holding a potted flower, Pope.L crawled military-style along the perimeter of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village until his boots began to crumble.
Since the 1980s, the park had been a site of ongoing riots involving the homeless population who took shelter there, squatters, activists, and police. At the time of Pope.L’s Crawl, Tompkins Square was barricaded for renovations. By assuming a prostrate posture, forcing onlookers to direct their gazes downward, Pope.L aimed to make visible historically disenfranchised bodies and displaced communities.
Gallery label from 2019