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Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration

Brooklyn Rail - Art Review - December 21, 2019

800 gallons of water is an abstract concept, until you see its volume cascade before your eyes into a cavernous holding tank. Then, that amount of water becomes visceral. It’s mesmerizing to sit before a specific amount of water, and contemplate the ways we use, exploit, and waste this most important of resources on a regular basis. This is the experience of witnessing Choir (2019), artist Pope.L’s gallery-filling installation currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The work is one-third of Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration, a triumvirate of Pope.L experiences that are, or recently have been, unfolding across New York this autumn. Alongside Choir at the Whitney, member: Pope.L 1978–2001 at the Museum of Modern Art presents a historical survey of some of Pope.L’s most significant performance works. The opening of these shows in October was backdropped by Conquest (2019), a performance commissioned by the Public Art Fund that took place in September, where Pope.L coordinated more than 140 volunteers to undertake one of the artist’s venerable Crawl pieces through the streets of lower Manhattan.


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