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Pope.L at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University

Great Force is an exhibition that uses painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance to examine the reality of race in the United States. It will feature new commissions and recent work by an intergenerational group of 21 established and emerging artists, including Pope.L, Sable Elyse Smith, Charlotte Lagarde, and Tomashi Jackson.

Borrowing its title from a quote by novelist and social critic James Baldwin, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do,” Great Force will explore how contemporary artists contend with persistent black-white racial bias and inequality in the U.S.

Seminal works like Pope.L’s The Great White Way, 22 Miles, 5 Years, 1 Street (Segment #1: December 29, 2001), 2001-06 which documents the artist’s nine year effort to crawl the length of New York City’s Broadway while wearing a capeless Superman costume representing a Black man’s struggle to pursue the American dream, will be on view alongside new work commissioned by the ICA.