The Art of Sport (2013)

A CEPA Gallery & Big Orbit Exhibit

September 20–November 23, 2013

Curated by Craig Smith and funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Art Of Sport featured a diversity of conceptual aesthetic modes addressing the social engagement with a culture of competitive sports in the United States and abroad, with works by an international group of artists including:

Covering a dynamic range of professional, amateur, and other activities almost unrecognized as “sport,” these photography, film, and interactive media artworks demonstrated the hype, criticism, design, and process of sports competition, body and mind development, social construction and rehabilitation through sport, real-time communication feeds of live events (radio, TV, and web), community identity, and sports tourism in the United States and abroad.

This archive page captures some of our favorite moments from this two-month exhibit.

Catherine Opie

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Catherine Opie, Football Landscape

Catherine Opie, Football Landscape

Paul Pfeiffer, Caryatid (2010)

Digital video loop, chromed television, DVD combo
(Not pictured here)

This work’s title refers to the caryatids of ancient Greek temples-sculpted female figures used as support structures in architectural design. Examples of these figures can be found on the Hoyt Lake side of the the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Albright Building. The video features celebrations with the Stanley Cup—the championship trophy of the National Hockey League-a trophy competed for but not quite won by the Buffalo Sabres in 1975 and 1999.

Work on loan from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Daria Martin, Loneliness and the Modern Pentathlon (2004-2005)

16mm film, 17 minutes
Loneliness and the Modern Pentathlon explores a fragile world of utopian aspiration, of Gesamtkunstwerks on the verge of collapse. In this film installation, Martin fast forwards 20th-century avant-garde ideals using as her vehicle an arcane Olympic sport, the Modern Pentathlon. Tensions between aspiration and its limits in exhaustion, between forward-looking modernity and nostalgic romanticism, and between artifice and expression are further heightened and unraveled in this many-layered film.

This work takes as its starting point the discipline of the Modern Pentathlon, an anachronistic but still-surviving Olympic sport comprised of running, swimming, shooting, horseback riding, and fencing. Its five formalized events were chosen by Baron de Coubertin, founder of the Modern Olympics, to encapsulate the romantic adventures of a gentleman liaison officer who fights his way on horseback, foot, and finally through water, to deliver an urgent message.

Loneliness and the Modern Pentathlon archly hangs this rarified sporting discipline on the narrative structure of the British Angry Young Man film genre and the genre’s classic examples in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962).

Work courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley Gallery, London.

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Daria Martin

Daria Martin, Loneliness and the Modern Pentathlon

Anne Hardy, Coordinate (2009)

Diasec mounted C-type print

British artist Anne Hardy constructs installation environments and large-scale photographic works of carefully fabricated interior spaces. Hardy’s work has been described in relation to the scenario paintings of Joan Miró and the fastidiousness of a Tarkovsky film set. Like the arrangement of sports commentators in a press box or athletes across a pitch, Hardy’s photographs transform the value of objects on display from the quotidian to the spectacular.

Work courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley Gallery, London.

Anne Hardy (born 1970) is a British artist best known for her large-scale photographic work of unusual interior spaces. She completed an MA in photography at the Royal College of Art in 2000, having graduated from Cheltenham School of Art in 1993 with a degree in painting. Hardy lives and works in London and is represented by Maureen Paley, London.

Anne Hardy on Wikipedia »
Anne Hardy on Art Forum »

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Anne Hardy, Coordinate

Anne Hardy, Coordinate

Hans van der Meer, Bhutan Series: The Other Final (2002-2003)

Color photographs on fine art paper
(Not pictured here)

Known today as the “Other Final,” the British overseas territory Montserrat and the Kingdom of Bhutan staged a football match on the same date as the 2002 World Cup Final between Germany and Brazil. At the time Montserrat and Bhutan were the lowest and second lowest ranked teams in the FIFA world rankings. Their match was played in Thimpu, Bhutan and was won by Bhutan 4-0.

Work courtesy the artist.

Lee Walton
World Series Game One

A live broadcast and installation event

For this live event, Walton created a system for the construction of a wall installation. Each action performed during the event was determined by the play-by-play action and commentator’s calls of Game 1 of the 2013 MLB World Series. The placement and action of each performed element during the installation event was determined by the batting line-up and the location of batted balls in the game. Walton limited his material choices for the performance and installation to products found at The Home Depot. By doing so, Walton intended to play with the relationship between a mega sports spectacle and the everyday domesticity of the average fan.

On the night of October 23, 2013, an audience attended and experienced the live events of both World Series Game One and Walton’s installation performance. Walton and others worked frantically to build the work within the duration of the ball game. Hot dogs, beer, baseball, and art were the order of the night!

Work courtesy the artist.

Fast Ball

Interactive installation

For Fast Ball, Walton creates a situation that brings us closer to the game. By experiencing the power, force, velocity and violence of a Major League fast ball, we can better understand the challenges players face when standing in the batter’s box.

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Lee Walton, Fast Ball
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Lee Walton, Fast Ball
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Lee Walton, Fast Ball

One Shot a Day

Performance, online distribution, and digital video
Lincoln Park Golf Course, San Francisco, CA
March 20–August 15, 2003

“The amount of pressure that weighed on each shot was unbearable. Sinking the final putt on hole #18 was the single most incredible accomplishment of my entire life.”
—Lee Walton

In One Shot A Day, Lee Walton played an entire round of golf by taking only one shot a day. Each shot was documented by a video and shared daily on the web. Before and after each shot, Walton speaks candidly and personally to the online audience. He shares the challenges, visions, tribulations, heartbreaks, and joys of each shot and each day. Over the course of 18 holes, over 150 shots, and 5 months of pure torturous joy, Walton finally completed the round with a one-foot putt.

This online performance took place two years before the existence of YouTube and before “vlogging” was even a term. For Walton and his audience, this was an early experiment in using the web as a social medium for sharing experiences together. Walton’s online interactions with his audience involved email-based encouragement, comments, and golf tips. In essence, Walton was not alone but followed and supported shot-to-shot by a virtual gallery.

Work courtesy the artist.

Last Pick

Performance, drawing, web-based participation
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Lee Walton, Last Pick
Last Pick is a web-based project facilitated through audience participation. Online participants democratically picked people one by one until we determined the last person to be picked. Walton utilized the convention of “Picking Teams” in a school yard or fantasy league. In such a convention, some person is always the last to be picked. Picking teams is about imagining an individual’s potential for future success in the game. But what if the game is removed? What if being the “Last Picked” was the game?

On November 9, 2013, the artist took photographs or the participants and uploaded them to the Last Pick website, where they were chosen by users of the website. Eventually, one person was left standing. Who was this person? The last pick was celebrated on stage at the Market Arcade Cinema.

Visit the Last Pick Website at »

Often regarded as an Experientialist, Walton’s work takes many forms—from drawings on paper, game/system based structures, video, web-based performances, public projects, theatrical orchestrations and more. After a two-year affiliation with the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, Walton has received many accolades from Museum funded projects (Reykjavik Art Museum of Iceland, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, SECCA, ICA Boston), public commissions (Art in General, Socrates Sculpture Park, Rhizome at the New Museum of NY, national and international exhibition venues (Island #6, Shanghia, China, Clubs Project Inc., Australia, Ljubljana Museum of Art) and collections (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Martin Z. Margulies Wharehouse). Walton has also lectured extensively on his practice and related subjects. Recent lectures, panel discussions and visits include MIT, Art in General, The New School, Art Institute of Boston, Columbia, Portland State Univerisity and the University of Ulster, Belfast Ireland. Walton holds a MFA in visual arts from the California College of the Arts. His drawings are represented by Kraushaar Gallery in NY and his conceptual work is represented by “cwp” (Christopher West Presents). Walton is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Visit Lee Walton’s Website at »

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Matthew Bakkom, Bowling for Dali

Matthew Bakkom, Bowling for Dalí

“Pleasure is man’s most legitimate aspiration.”
—Salvador Dalí, Barcelona, Spain, March 22, 1930

On Saturday, October 12, 2013, artist Matthew Bakkom and CEPA Gallery went to Voelker’s Bowling Center for Bowling For Dalí, a specially designed 10-pin event intended to explore the competitive tendencies of the avant-garde and playfully reconcile one of its infamous 20th century schisms. These events pitted teams that represent the major figures of the surrealist movement—Team Breton, Team Eluard, Team Aragon, Team Ray, etc.—as they vied for victory in a celebration of the career of their most well-known and eventually scorned colleague, Salvador Dalí (famously derided in the wake of his American stardom by his anagrammatic rechristening as “Avida Dollars”).

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Matthew Bakkom, Bowling for Dali

After a first round qualifier, the top teams competed in a second round showdown for first, second and third place trophies and other awards, produced by artist/organizer Matthew Bakkom for this site-based event, commissioned by CEPA Gallery as an element of their exhibition, The Art Of Sport.

Vesna Pavlović, Watching (2002-2004)

Sixteen black-and-white fiber prints from the Watching 01, Watching 02, Watching 03, and Watching 04 Series

For Vesna Pavlović, sport is one of the most vital and widespread forms of the emanation of power and capital as well as one of the mainstays of media omnipresence and the notion of “the society of the spectacle.” The Watching Project series features images of basketball spectatorship from four distinct locations: Belgrade, Serbia, Sacramento, USA, Athens, and the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. Through the documenting of various situations absorbing a sporting event, the photographs demonstrate a multitude of relationships between spectators and performers irrespective of whether the game is seen live and in person or mediated through television images. The phenomenon of watching a sporting event is treated here as one of the key social models of identification, loyalty, enjoyment, confidence, and collective spirit.

Work courtesy the artist.

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Vesna Pavlović, Watching Photos

Vesna Pavlović, Watching (Untitled 2)

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Vesna Pavlović, Watching Photos

Vesna Pavlović, Watching (Untitled 3)

Vesna Pavlović (Serbia/US) obtained her MFA degree in Visual arts from Columbia University in 2007. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at Vanderbilt University where she teaches photography and digital media. She has exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Museum of History of Yugoslavia and the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. She has been featured with a solo presentation at the Untitled, 12th Istanbul Biennial, 2011, and in group exhibitions in the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (Spectator Sports), Bucharest Biennale 5, Romania (Tactics for the Here and Now), Le Quartier Center for Contemporary Art in Quimper, France (From Closed World to the Infinite Universe), NGBK in Berlin, Germany (Spaceship Yugoslavia, The Suspension of Time), Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade (Conversations), Serbia, Photographers’ Gallery in London (Mediterranean, Between Reality and Utopia), Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, UK (Rear View Mirror), and FRAC Center for Contemporary Art in Dunkuerqe, France (De-Collecting). Pavlović has been awarded grants from the Art Matters Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, CEC ArtsLink, Schepp Foundation, and residencies at the FAIR Copenhagen, NIFCA Helsinki, and Location One, New York. She is the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Fellowship at Vanderbilt University in 2010 (Representation and Social Change). Her work is included in major private and public art collections, Phillips Collection and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington DC, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia, among others. Pavlovi?’s work has been reviewed in Art Forum magazine, Art Papers, Camera Austria, Washington Post, and others. Pavlović’s work is represented by G Fine Art in Washington DC, Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, and Zeitgeist gallery in Nashville.

Visit Vesna Pavlović’s website at »

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Mitch Miller, Natural Selections

Mitch Miller, Natural Selection

Sculpture, drawing, performance

Mitch Miller’s work is rooted in a fraught relationship with the natural world that began in formative visits to the awe-inspiring sites where his father worked as a petroleum engineer. In Natural Selection, creature-like sculptures in reclaimed Styrofoam perch on pedestals and hang suspended in the air. The largest hanging pieces are literally moving targets. After assembling and painting, the final stage of production involves participants shooting at the glacial craters with a bow and arrow. This activity causes the structure to spin, gouges the textured surface and splinters off pieces that are then reassembled to create the smaller-scale works.

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Mitch Miller, Natural Selections
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Mitch Miller, Natural Selections
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Mitch Miller, Natural Selections
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Mitch Miller, Natural Selections
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Mitch Miller, Natural Selections
CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Mitch Miller, Natural Selections

Mitch Miller earned degrees in Biology and Fine Art from the University of Colorado in 1997. After completing an MFA at the University of Kansas, Miller moved to New York in 2000 where he embarked on ambitious projects, including the conversion of a former Times Square strip club into a massive art center. Through this project, Miller received grants from Scope International Art Fair and Socrates Sculpture Park, where he completed his first public sculptures in 2004. The artist has since exhibited widely in the United States and abroad at venues including Marc DePuechredon, Basel, Switzerland; White Columns, New York City; Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; Rare Gallery, New York City and ADA Gallery, Richmond, Virginia, among others. Mitch Miller lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Visit Mitch Miller’s website »

Craig Smith, Bradley Beesley’s Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo (2007)

Digital color photographs

These photographs were made behind the walls of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Since 1940 this maximum-security prison has hosted a prison rodeo and since 2006 female offenders have been included in the event. The rodeo is attended by more than 10,000 spectators annually. Smith joined filmmaker Brad Beesley in 2007 to photograph events at the prison and in the city of McAlester during the rodeo weekend. A screening event for Beesley’s film, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo, was held at Buffalo’s Market Arcade Cinema on November 9, 2013.

Work courtesy the artist.

CEPA Gallery Exhibits & Events - The Art of Sport, Craig Smith, Bradley Beesley’s Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo

Craig Smith, Bradley Beesley’s Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo

Dr. Craig Smith is an American media artist whose art and research focuses on the process, aesthetics, and ethics of human‐to‐human interactivity in contemporary art, especially photography, sound, and socially engaged performances. Smith’s practice includes the production of photography, performance art, sonic art, video, writing and sound recordings. He has had twenty-one solo exhibitions of photography and other media in the last ten years of his career and has published the books Training Manual for Relational Art (2009) as well as On the Subject of the Photographic (2007). His exhibitions of photography, live sound performances, lectures, and other art media have been featured at an international range of museums, galleries, art fairs, athletic facilities, and financial organizations including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., PS1MOMA Contemporary Art Institute in New York, The Tate Modern in London, The George Eastman House in Rochester, the Hudson River Museum, and the Burchfield Penney Art Center as well as galleries and art fairs including CEPA Gallery (Buffalo), Galerie Schuster Photo (Berlin), RARE Art (New York), SCM Hong Kong, ARTSPACE Sydney, The Kent Gallery and White Columns (New York), and the Scope Art fairs in London, New York, and Miami. Smith has created photographs for documentary films by the directors Brad Beesley (Fearless Freaks, Okie Noodling, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo) and Ben Steinbauer (Winnebago Man). In 2011 Smith and Dave Copenhaver released a full length sound recording entitled “The Parasite: A Sound and Text Composition” based on a remix of Michel Serres’ fable Le Parasite. “The Parasite” as been presented live as a multimedia sound and stage performance at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Price Tower Art Center (Frank Lloyd Wright’s only existing skyscraper).

Read Craig Smith’s Blog, The Fatal Field Goal »
Craig Smith at University of Florida »
Read the Washington Post Article “‘Manifest: Armed’ at Corcoran Gallery: A cogent and provocative one-room show” »

Bradley Beesley, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo (2009)

Documentary film

Since 1940, the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. has held an annual prison rodeo. Part wild west show, part coliseum-style spectacle, this relic of the American penal system is a tradition for the prison and community at large. Prisoners compete on wild broncos and bucking bulls, risking severe injury while friends, family and others cheer them on. For the female hopefuls and male competitors like 14-year rodeo veteran Danny Liles, the chance to battle livestock offers a brief respite from prison life.

Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo goes behind prison walls to follow a group of female inmates (and a few male prisoners) on their journey to the rodeo. In the state with the highest female incarceration rate in the country—and 80% of women prisoners are mothers—many share experiences such as broken homes, drug abuse and alienation from their children.

Bradley Beesley is an American independent film and video director, producer and cinematographer. He has long been associated with the alternative rock band, The Flaming Lips. Austin based filmmaker Bradley Beesley has made a cinematic career documenting oddball Americana, strange sub-cultures and homegrown rock stars. Post art school and somewhat damaged, he began drinking moonshine and filming with legendary bluesman R.L. Burnside to make his first movie Hill Stomp Hollar (SXSW). He has since directed 9 feature-length films, including 7 documentaries, a concert film and a sci-fi narrative. Bradley is the producer and director of the backwoods cult classic Okie Noodling (PBS). The film chronicles the lost art of bare-handed catfishing in his home state of Oklahoma and continues to have encore broadcasts nationwide.After collecting over 400 hours of footage, In 2005, Shout! Factory released The Fearless Freaks, a documentary starring The Flaming Lips. He has collaborated on over 15-music videos with the Lips and recently teamed-up with Wayne Coyne to make the science fiction picture Christmas on Mars (Warner Bros.).

Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo (HBO) is his latest effort and goes behind prison walls to follow convict cowgirls as they compete within this coliseum-esque gladiator spectacle know as the Oklahoma State Penitentiary Rodeo. Other feature documentaries include The Creek Runs Red (Independent Lens), Summercamp! (Sundance Channel) and UFOs at the Zoo (Warner Bros.). His TV credits include Roller Girls (A&E), Paranormal State (A&E) and Storm Chasers (Discovery).

When Bradley is not making films he can be found cooking Cajun cuisine, wading chest-deep through murky Oklahoma rivers or passing out wedgies to his endless mob of nieces and nephews.

Visit Bradley Beesley’s Website at »
Bradley Beesley on Wikipedia »

Harold Edgerton, Wes Fesler Kicking a Football (1934)

Vintage gelatin silver print

Harold ‘Doc’ Edgerton grew up in the American Midwest and became a researcher of electrical engineering and an instructor at MIT. His “speedray” photographs were created at sporting events and stage shows and helped to make the strobe an essential piece of equipment to investigate how chance favors the prepared mind; a fascination of Edgerton’s adopted from the work of Blaise Pascal. This photograph features the toe of Harvard football coach Wesley E. Fesler. When exhibited at Ohio State University the director of OSU’s art museum noted that Edgerton’s exhibition was the first event in which members of the university’s athletic department had visited the art museum.

Work courtesy of Mel Rubin and the Harn Museum, University of Florida.

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