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William Pope.L (born in Newark, New Jersey) is a prominent, multi-disciplinary artist known for his ironic and martial conceptual art dealing with consumerism, social class and racism. Pope. L regularly draws upon his African-American heritage to tackle variations upon what he calls "social conundrum." He is best known for his work in performance art, and interventionist public art. However, he has also produced art in painting, photography and theater. He was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial and is a Guggenheim Fellow.
Pope.L attended Pratt Institute from 1973 to 1975 and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program from 1977 to 1978. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey in 1978. Each summer he worked assisting severely disabled persons at camps in rural environments. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in visual arts from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1981.
He is trenchantly dubbed "The Friendliest Black Artist in America", which is also the title of a book on his works published in 2002 by MIT Press. Recent activity by Pope. L includes The Black Factory, a wayfaring project initiated in 2004 and displayed at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MOCA) as part of The Interventionists show. In another performance piece called The Great White Way, Pope. L crawled his way from the Battery north through Manhattan dressed in a Superman outfit.
Housed in a cargo van and inflatable igloo, Pope.L's The Black Factory, is a set of energetic activities that investigate community, race, identity and connection through performance, interactive work and exhibitions. In his project called 141 Demands for a Better World, participants are encouraged to step up to the microphone and state their demands to create a better world. Pope. L currently works as a lecturer of Theater and Rhetoric at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
Black Factory website: www.theblackfactory.com
(San Francisco World Fair 2007 homepage and wikipedia)
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