Mitchell-Innes & Nash announces the release of "Pope.L, My Kingdom for a Title"
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Mitchell-Innes & Nash announces the release of "Pope.L, My Kingdom for a Title"
Pope.L and his pet Mr. Milk (now deceased) in Pope.L's backyard in Lewiston, ME. 2003. Photo: Paul Fortin. © Pope.L. Courtesy: The artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Mitchell-Innes & Nash announced the release of My Kingdom for a Title, a collection of writings by artist Pope.L documenting his use of language as a mode of visual, narrative, and performative action. My Kingdom for a Title is now available for preorder, with a virtual book launch event held in September. The gallery will release a limited edition of 100 signed copies by Pope.L featuring an original screenprint by the artist, bound within the book, available for $250 each.

Pope.L is a visual artist and edu­cator whose multidisciplinary practice uses binaries, contraries, and preconceived notions embedded within contemporary culture to create artworks in various formats including writing, painting, performance, installation, video, and sculpture. Building upon his long history of enacting arduous, provocative, absurdist performances and interventions in public spaces, Pope.L applies some of the same social, formal, and performative strategies to his interests in language, system, gender, race, and community. The goals for his work are several: joy, money, and uncertainty—not necessarily in that order.

My Kingdom for a Title reveals how the act of writing is integral to Pope.L’s labored practice, given its foundational role for him since the 1970s. From scripts and scores to installation and painting, the materials assembled here, much of it published for the first time, presents the breadth of the artist’s engagement with language. Within the book, Pope.L’s work is supplemented with extensive endnotes sourced by artist and Founder of Cassandra Press, Kandis Williams, who provides a challenging historization of Pope.L’s ideas, as well as a letter to the reader from the book’s editor, Mitchell-Innes & Nash Partner Courtney Willis Blair.

“Within his texts, Pope.L’s deliberate use of the literary and visual tropes of illegibility, rhythm, and tone allow for an awkward consumption of the work to be a [suspectable] consumption of the work. Perhaps even preferred,” Willis Blair writes. “Therein lies a bit of the intent behind inviting Kandis Williams to intervene in this publication. Williams’s carefully considered consumption of Pope.L’s texts conjures a reader of her own.”

My Kingdom for a Title compliments the exhibitions Pope.L: Four Panels, which was held at Mitchell-Innes & Nash from March 5–April 10, 2021, and Notations, Holes and Humour, which is on view at Modern Art in London from July 15–August 28. Both exhibitions center on the artist’s ongoing project, Skin Set (1997–), a constantly growing and shifting group of text-inflected works across many media that consider the construction of language, identity and stereotype as notation, hole and frequently absurdity and humor. Statements about “black, green, red, blue, white and purple people” draw attention to how we use color or color terms or racial epithets to create meaning. Letters are pulled apart to focus on the space between. Inconsistent line breaks and crossed-out words highlight audibility, tone and discord.

Four Panels was the artist’s first solo show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash since Pope.L’s critically acclaimed trio of exhibitions, Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration, at The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and the Public Art Fund in New York in 2019, featuring landmark performances and related videos, objects and installations.

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