PRINT February 2020


Pope.L, Choir, 2019, one-thousand-gallon plastic water-storage tank, water, drinking fountain, copper pipes, solenoid valves, pumps, MIDI controllers, electronic-timer module, level-detection probe, flow meters, programmable logic controller, wood, scrim, vinyl letters, graphite, microphones, speakers, wires, sound. Installation view, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photo: Ron Amstutz. © Pope.L.

THIS PAST FALL, three of New York’s most prominent institutions launched “Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration,” a polycentric staging of the artist’s catalytic work. On September 21, 2019, Public Art Fund presented Conquest, a collective event inspired by Pope.L’s trailblazing “Crawl” pieces, in which more than 140 participants dragged themselves through New York’s public parks and along its sidewalks for a mile and a half. Shortly after, the Whitney Museum of American Art debuted Choir, a crystallization of the artist’s investigations of water, contamination, and circulation (on view through March 8), and the Museum of Modern Art opened “member: Pope.L, 1978–2001,” a survey of his often disquieting performances (closing February 1). To mark and measure this exceptional occasion, Artforum invited poet SIMONE WHITE and writer CIARÁN FINLAYSON to respond to the exhibitions’ remarkable twists and timely provocations.