Joyce Foundation Awardee

William Pope.L with SPACES Gallery

William Pope.L has a proposition for Cleveland: Can we manually pull an 8-ton truck through the city for three days, as a testament to the power of shared labor?

From June 7-9, Pope.L and SPACES invite people across Cleveland to lend their voices and their bodies to Pull! an ambitious city-wide community performance piece funded by his Joyce Award. Working in teams of 15, hundreds of Clevelanders are being asked to manually pull a truck for 25 miles, through the neighborhoods of North Collinwood, Glenville, University Circle, Hough, AsiaTown and downtown; to West Park, Clark-Fulton and Ohio City. The truck will literally be pulled day and night through the streets to cover the 25 mile path. Images collected from people across Cleveland about what work means to them will be projected from the back of the truck as it is pulled through the city.

Pull! is a show of strength that can only happen if thousands of people literally pull together in a huge act of shared commitment. At the heart of Pull! is a city-wide conversation about what work–or lack of stable work–means to Clevelanders. Pope.L’s goal is to use his art as a living reminder that people should be proud of hard work, especially when it is done in collaboration with others. Pull! will allow the diverse Cleveland community to work, eat, and pull together as they talk about one of the most powerful and meaningful forces in their lives – their jobs.

Pope.L and SPACES have solicited photographs and stories regarding work from Clevelanders from diverse economic and racial backgrounds. Photographs and images have also been created at six community workshops in various Cleveland neighborhoods. The photographs will then be woven together with black and white images from Cleveland’s history into a long video that will be projected onto a screen on the back of a mobile truck.

SPACES is a 33-year-old nonprofit contemporary arts organization founded by artists with the intent of artistically engaging the public in a vital dialogue around ideas. SPACES is teaming with the Cleveland Performance Art Festival, Cleveland Public Theatre, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland State University, and others to organize a 25th anniversary of the Cleveland Performance Festival to take place May–July 2013. The 25th anniversary celebration will include events like performances, lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, etc. and collaborative marketing aimed at generating a region-wide excitement for and remembrance of Cleveland’s cultural identity.

William Pope.L is a visual and performance artist and educator. He has been making multi-disciplinary works since the 1970's, exhibiting internationally in New York, London, Los Angeles, Vienna, Montreal and Tokyo. In 2009, he was commissioned by Hauser & Wirth to create an installation in response to Kaprow's Yard. He participated in the New Museum's 2010 - 2011 exhibition, The Last Newspaper, with a reenactment of his infamous Eating the Wall Street Journal performance. In 2011, Pope.L performed Blink in New Orleans, as part of the biennial Prospect2. Most recently, Pope.L's work was included in Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.

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