William Pope.L Wins 2017 Bucksbaum Award

whitney
Image courtesy Whitney Museum, New York
William Pope.L. Claim. 2017.
Multidisciplinary artist William Pope.L/Pope.L earns recognition following in the footsteps of previous winners Sarah Michelson and Zoe Leonard

The Bucksbaum Award is granted to an artist whose work was featured in the most recent edition of the Whitney Biennial, recognising “extraordinary artists whose works are inventive, urgent, and promise to be enduring,” said Mary E. Bucksbaum Scanlan, daughter of the prize’s namesake, in a statement. Chicago-based artist Pope.L, whose four-decade long practice covers everything from performance and painting to video and theatre, is the most recent winner of the $100,000 grant and autumn-slated solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum.

Pope.L is noted for his performances and interventions that explore language, gender, race and community, but his Whitney Biennial installation Claim (Whitney Version) (2017) proved particularly striking. Consisting of an immersive installation including 2,755 slices of bologna that, through the duration of the biennial, cured and leaked meat juice into basins at the base of the structure. Each piece of meat also bore a photocopied picture of a random New Yorker, intended to represent the percentage of Jews in New York. While polarising on many levels, Pope.L indicated in a wall text next to a bottle of MD 20/20 that his methodology was intentionally “off”.

“For almost four decades, Pope.L has challenged us to confront some of the most pressing questions about American society as well as about the very nature of art,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the museum’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, in a statement. “We are thrilled that he is joining the illustrious group of American artists whom we have honoured with the Bucksbaum Award.”

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whitney
Image courtesy Whitney Museum, New York
William Pope.L. Claim. 2017.