New York City, NY
MoMA PS1 revisits the seminal performance work of Puerto Rican artist Papo Colo, a pioneering figure in New York’s art scene since the 1970s. Documentation from Colo’s early works on view in the museum’s lobby. The presentation at MoMA PS1 will coincide with The Cleaner, a new work the artist is performing in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, and will culminate in a festival in Puerto Rico in January, 2017, with the aim of drawing attention to the island’s present economic crisis.
The MoMA PS1 presentation centers around Colo’s Superman 51 (1977), in which he drags a collection of fifty-one white pieces of wood behind him, tethered to his body with ropes, as he runs shirtless down an empty stretch of Manhattan’s West Side Highway until collapsing from exhaustion. Completed the year after the United States bi-centennial in 1976—also the year of MoMA PS1’s founding—it marks a historical juncture which saw the failure of Puerto Rico’s bid for statehood in the United States congress. Evoking the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the work conveys an explicitly political content: the fifty-one pieces of wood refer to the number of states in the existing American union plus Puerto Rico.
For more information, please visit the Museum's website.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website