Burying the Blues

By William Pope.L

April 2013, Whitney Museum of American Art

Through his installation and performance art, William Pope.L produces innovative interventions, often tackling topics of race and inequality within communities and public spaces. In conjunction with the Whitney Museum of American Art’s exhibition Blues for Smoke, Pope.L staged a performance and hands-on project that invited visitors to explore the definitions surrounding the blues, and ask how the blues “aesthetic” has migrated over place and time. Pope.L invited visitors to “bury the blues” by probing the transformation of this category through music, art, language, and geography.

In this work I performed the burial, slowly covering collaborating musicians, hired from Craigslist in black confetti. Children danced in the evolving landscape while the musicians strummed along relentlessly. Participants sent envelopes to the last known addresses of dead blues musicians.