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Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art announces 'Game Changer'
Catherine Opie, Football Landscape #12 (Alice vs. W.B. Ray, Corpus Christi, TX), 2008, C-print, 48 x 64 in. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles © Catherine Opie

BOULDER, CO.- Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art announces its summer 2014 exhibition Game Changer, guest curated by Ruth Bruno and Cortney Lane Stell. On view July 17- September 14, 2014, Game Changer presents works by twelve artists who take a reflective, and often critical, look at competitive sports. The works in this exhibition impact broad audiences as sports influence our lives in many ways, from how we spend our leisure time, to how we spend our money, to how we create and define our individual and collective identities.

Game Changer examines how artists address and incorporate the aesthetics, rules, and cultural significance of sports into their work. Combining a broad range of media, including video, sculpture, photography, and large-scale, site-specific installations, the exhibition uses the ubiquity of competitive sports to show the ways contemporary artists interpret the world around us. The exhibition features the work of David Adamo (New York/Germany), Alejandro Almanza Pereda (Mexico), Daniel Arsham (New York), Phil Bender (Denver), Devon Dikeou (Denver/New York), Humberto Duque (Mexico), Brett Kashmere (Pittsburgh), Catherine Opie (Los Angeles), Helmut Smits (Netherlands), Ana Soler (Spain), Adam Stamp (Los Angeles), and Kehinde Wiley (New York/China).

The works on view in Game Changer address sports from diverse perspectives, but common themes emerge. Adamo and Almanza Pereda, for example, both showcase modifications that render games impossible to win, thus removing their competitive element. Bender and Soler similarly engage with sports and sporting equipment on a purely formal level, showcasing sporting goods as objects stripped of their functionality and interpreted for their formal beauty alone. Additionally, the works on view by Kashmere, Opie, and Wiley focus on the athlete’s body or persona, emphasizing the commercialization of the athlete’s body as an object of performance and desire, or the notions of ownership that fans develop for their favorite players.

Among the exhibition’s highlights are Opie’s enigmatic portraits of young athletes posturing with all of the confidence of their professional idols; the Pompeii-ash-like sculptures of baseball mitts by Arsham, resembling relics; and Smits’ video projection of a soccer game in which the grass field is a green screen displaying advertisements, foregrounding the thin line between sports and commercialism.

Game Changer sheds light on the potential of art to foster critical contemplation and new possibilities in relation to familiar aspects of the world around us. These artworks elucidate that the world is more complex than the clear-cut parameters of recognizable social structures, reminding us that within every ruled system there exists potential for creativity and exploration. Through the use of familiar sports vocabulary, the works bring to light the aesthetic, ritualistic, and value-reinforcing power of sports.

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