Sweet Spot With Mike Sugerman: Performance Art Piece Brings NYC To A Crawl

Mike Sugerman
October 25, 2019 - 5:00 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Talk about an art crawl, literally.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, 140 volunteers, who were blindfolded and wearing only one shoe, turned out in Manhattan to crawl more than a mile from the West Village’s John A. Seravalli Playground to Union Square.

William Pope.L is the brains behind the performance art piece, called "Conquest."

It was the largest of the more than 30 crawls he's staged internationally starting in the 1970s when New York City was in pretty bad shape and people started living and sleeping on the street.

"I didn't think that the people were worthless or inert, I felt they had an energy in them. What if all these so-called lost people just started to move in one," Pope.L said.

The performance shows what that might look like.

So is it art?

"What is art really? I work at the Museum of Modern Art and sometimes I walk through and I'm like, 'What is this on the wall?,'" volunteer Claire Mondry said.

"I think art for many artists is about posing the questions of what it means to be alive today," Nicholas Baume of the Public Art Fund said.

"I believe art is whatever the artist says it is but it's art because it's reimaging something," said Susan Freidman of the Public Art Fund.

Nicole Franklin was just walking by when "art" broke out.

"I don't really see the art in it," she said. "I don't really understand it, it's kind of funny."

Pope L.'s work will be on display at the Whitney and MoMA this month and you don't have to crawl to get in.