Published by Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Interview by Aliza Hoffman, Bennett Simpson.
Pope.L: Proto-Skin Set explores early works the artist (William) Pope.L (born 1955) made between 1979 and 1994 exploring materiality and language. Published in this volume for the first time are the artist’s Proto-Skin Sets, a selection of mixed-media collages and assemblages that the artist began making as a student in the 1970s engaging the social constructions of language, race and gender. Treating language as an image and images as a language, these works anticipate his ongoing project Skin Sets, text-based works that employ language to construct pointed, absurd and layered messages about the vagaries of color. The publication also includes a five-part document from 1979 that is part of an open-ended set of written works titled Communications Devices, and a new interview with the artist conducted by Pope.L’s studio administrator Aliza Hoffman and curator Bennett Simpson.
Published by JRP|Ringier. Edited by Clément Dirié. Text by Iain Kerr, Helen Molesworth, William Pope.L.
“When Pope.L shakes his head he makes drawings that keep him from laugh-crying to death,” writes Helen Molesworth of Skin Set Drawings, an ongoing series by multi-disciplinary artist William Pope.L (born 1955). Made with very humble materials, this extended corpus deals with the absurdities and perversities of intentional language, especially racist language and language associated with categorizing and naming color. “Black People Are Taut,” “Brown People Are the Green Ray,” “Blue People Are What We Do to Homosexuals,” “Red People Are From Mars Green People Are From New Jersey,” “Purple People Are Reason Bicarbonate,” “Red People Are the Niggers of the Canyon” are some examples of this highly-charged series by the self-proclaimed “friendliest black artist in America.” Black People Are Cropped offers a selection of drawings from 1997–2011, sketches, critical texts and the artist’s own writing.