PRINT February 2020


 Pope.L, Egg Eating Contest (Basement version), 1990, video, color, sound, 8 minutes 4 seconds. Installation view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2019. Photo: Martin Seck. © Pope.L.

AMONG THE VIDEOS ON DISPLAY in “member: Pope.L, 1978–2001,” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, many of which are grainy documents of Pope.L’s experimental theater works, is Egg Eating Contest (Basement version), 1990, a piece first performed in East Orange, New Jersey, in which the artist appears as a sort of emasculated black nationalist strutting around a cellar in a tattered black tunic. Tacked on the wall is a sheet of beige paper; on the paper is a painting of a hairy scrotum. Pope.L, after dramatically producing a marker from the folds of the tunic, attempts to draw the shaft. But he isn’t looking. As he scrawls beyond the frame, the shot freezes. When the video resumes, he’s holding a solid black egg, which he carries reverentially offstage. He returns to behold his handiwork, and the drawing falls on his head, revealing another, smaller drawing of a dick sporting a

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