Pope.L - Dowers


Dowers, 2023
Twenty-three-color screenprint on Coventry Rag paper and two (2) pushpins
12 3/8 x 12 x 1/2 inches (31.4 x 30.5 x 1.3 cm)
Framed: 16 1/4 x 16 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches (41.3 x 41.3 x 3.8 cm)
Edition of 30, 6 AP

Printed by Du-Good Press, New York
Published by 52 Walker

From the 1970s, renowned Chicago-based artist Pope.L (b. 1955) has pursued a dynamic multidisciplinary practice that has since shifted the paradigm of performance and installation art. Manipulating and testing language’s limits while utilizing his own body, in his work he challenges established understandings of persistent socioeconomic disparities as well as what constitutes personhood and identity.

Created on the occasion of the two-person exhibition at 52 Walker in 2023, Gordon Matta-Clark & Pope.L: Impossible Failures, the present work relates to Pope.L's painting Wash Cloth #2 (green) (2022–2023). In the screenprint, the contrasting textures of the coarse fabric and the slips of collaged paper are expertly reproduced, giving the work a three-dimensional quality that is further reinforced by the pushpins affixed to the top edges of the print. This print speaks to the presence and importance of materiality in Pope.L's work and, more specifically, the artist's consideration of the quotidian—recalling the use of items like peanut butter, Pop Tarts, bologna, and washcloths across his oeuvre. Though other creative practices have blurred the boundaries between art and performance, for Pope.L, all art is performance. In the words of artist and writer Aria Dean, "Pope.L's ambivalence toward form, his creation of works that generate multiple versions and embodiments that elude art historical classification, is his way of slipping past barriers that divide art and life."