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Indepth Arts News:

"William Pope.L: The Black Factory and Other Good Works"
2007-03-17 until 2007-07-08
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
San Francisco, CA, USA

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is pleased to present the West Coast premiere of William Pope.L’s compelling and controversial work in William Pope.L: The Black Factory and Other Good Works. This is the first exhibition of the Black Factory on the West Coast. Investigating some of the most sensitive areas of American culture, Pope.L is at once an artist, educator and provocateur. He is known for imaginative visual and performance art work that is artistically sophisticated, fiercely satirical and accessible to the lay person. This exhibition is part of YBCA’s Deeply Personal series, one of the Big Ideas that guides this season’s programming. The varied works that tie into this theme critique mass media, mass culture, mass anything, using the artist’s own forthright and maverick insights. Working in collaboration with California College of Art and University of California at Berkeley theater and art departments, this exhibition is based around the idea of community and difference and how art can be utilized to create conversation and activism around these themes.

The Black Factory (www.theblackfactory.com) is an ongoing set of activities and dialogs facilitated by trained Black Factory workers. Pope.L, the CEO, explains, “The Black Factory does not make blackness, it makes opportunity; the chance to imagine the color of a future we want instead of one imposed on us.” Housed in a traveling 22-foot UPS-type truck, The Black Factory is not a traditional art object, but a set of compelling and energetic actions that stir up issues concerning community, identity, human connection and race through performance, songs, shopping, watermelon, black object collection and fundraising for local charities. The Black Factory requires the participation of an audience to do its work.

A hands on experience is integral to Pope.L’s art practice, and so he and YBCA’s Visual Arts curators have planned a number of activities to take place in the galleries as well as in various communities and neighborhoods around San Francisco.

At the opening reception, YBCA, in collaboration with Project Open Hand, will auction off ten original canned food drawings created by Pope.L. Proceeds will benefit Project Open Hand (www.openhand.org).

141 Demands is a street-community activity in which groups and individuals, led by students from UC Berkeley, orate their hopes and wants for a better world. These calls to action will take place in various locations around the city once a week, and be broadcast over local airwaves. There will also be a weekly on-site version of 141 Demands at YBCA, occurring during regular gallery hours every Friday and every FREE First Tuesday. Gallery visitors are encouraged to dialog with the UC Berkeley students on these days to voice their demands for a better world.

Over 300 Black Objects collected on tour will be on view and will grow during the course of the show as Bay Area locals are invited to donate items they associate with “Blackness.” Provoking discussion about how race is perceived and expressed, a “Black Elvis” will be on hand every Sunday as a guide to soliciting conversation on the issues of our time and to receive contributions to the collection. Over the course of the show, many people of various sizes, shapes, colors and ethnic backgrounds will perform the “Black Elvis” role.

William Pope.L: The Black Factory and Other Good Works is also a unique environment built within the large spacious galleries of YBCA. The environment includes a drive-in size movie screen for Pope.L’s 10-hour video, created from over 250 hours of tour footage. The video is viewed from “The Platform,” a specially created living room with library and comfy chairs. In addition, throughout the space will be a bevy of tables displaying the life of The Black Factory fresh from the dungeons of Pope.L’s Lewiston, Maine, basement.

In William Pope.L: The Black Factory and Other Good Works, YBCA presents cutting edge art experiences — films, art objects, performances and participatory events — that will resonate with the visitor in the galleries and in the larger community. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get The Black Factory experience in person.

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