'Black Factory' preview at Bates College anticipates MassMoCA installation

The Bates College Museum of Art presents the “Black Factory,” an installation by nationally acclaimed visual and performance artist William Pope.L, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

The recipient this spring of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, Pope.L is known for his provocative explorations of culture and consumerism. The Black Factory is his most participatory, community-oriented project yet, aiming to re-energize discussions about race in America by inviting people to share objects that represent “blackness” to them.

During the past year at locations including Bates, where he has been a lecturer in the Department of Theater and Rhetoric for 12 years, Pope.L held events to collect such items from the public. These objects are incorporated into the Black Factory installation, a truck equipped to manipulate and present the objects in various ways.

Starting May 31, the Black Factory will appear at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, in North Adams, in a group exhibition titled The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere. For more information about the exhibit, visit the MassMoCA home page: http://www.massmoca.org/index.html

Working in sculpture, performance and installations, Pope.L has consistently challenged his audiences to confront and re-examine American notions about race, class, pop culture and consumerism. His work has been recognized by a host of awards and major profiles in The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The New York Times, among other publications.

In Maine, Pope.L may be best-known for “eRacism,” a retrospective exhibition at the Maine College of Art that later toured to Texas, Oregon and New York.

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