Creator of divisive King Monument builds sculpture for Super Bowl

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Creator of divisive King Monument builds sculpture for Super Bowl
“Opportunity (reflection)” by Hank Willis Thomas. The steel sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas features a football and will be displayed outside State Farm Stadium on Feb. 12. (Hank Willis Thomas Studio via The New York Times)

by Kalia Richardson



NEW YORK, NY.- A new work by the artist who recently unveiled a much-discussed sculpture of a hug between Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King will be displayed outside the Phoenix-area stadium hosting the upcoming Super Bowl.

The 10-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture by the artist, Hank Willis Thomas, shows an unidentified player’s extended arm reaching to catch a football. Titled “Opportunity (reflection),” it draws inspiration from his 2015 sculpture “Opportunity.”

“The ball is a metaphor for the present moment and what we do with it,” Thomas said. “In team sports, it’s all about what the collective does with the present moment toward achieving a goal against sometimes unlikely and unseemly odds.”

The sculpture was commissioned by the NFL and will be displayed outside State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 12, the day the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs face off in Super Bowl LVII. (Fans can get an earlier view of the sculpture inside the Phoenix Convention Center; the work will later be on loan at the Arizona State University Art Museum.)

In January, Thomas’ 19-ton bronze monument to the Kings — inspired by a photo of the couple after Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 — was criticized and mocked online. Titled “The Embrace” and now a permanent fixture on Boston Common, the memorial features the Kings’ arms and does not show their faces, leading some observers to compare the pose to a sexual act.

Seneca Scott, a cousin of Coretta Scott King, wrote an essay that described the work as “rather insulting.” But Thomas pointed out that the sculpture was meaningful to the Kings’ descendants, including Yolanda Renee King, the civil rights leader’s granddaughter, who called the work “love 360.” After the backlash, Martin Luther King III said on CNN that he was moved by the depiction of his parents.

“I really felt like if it was just showing their faces, it would really ground in the past,” Thomas said, “where this piece is rooted in the past but is also about the present and with an eye toward the future.”

Thomas, a New York City-based conceptual artist, fused sports and identity into his work before producing “Opportunity (reflection)” for the Super Bowl. That work included “The New Black Aesthetic,” a quilted piece dedicated to basketball greats for last year’s NBA All-Star Weekend, and “The Cotton Bowl,” which depicts a mirror image of a crouching college football player and a sharecropper picking cotton.

And a 22-foot bronze sculpture of an arm, “Unity,” located near the Brooklyn Bridge, echoes his 2015 “Liberty” sculpture, which was inspired by a photo of a Harlem Globetrotter.

Jonathan Beane, senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer for the NFL, said that the league was looking to amplify Black voices, and that Thomas’ sculpture encapsulates the different emotions fans experience while watching football.

“When I look at it, I say, ‘It’s also access, it’s also opportunity, it’s also success, it also could be failure, it could be hope, it could be struggle,’ ” Beane said. “There’s a lot in that image, and that’s what we’re about.”

“Opportunity (reflection)” is part of Thomas’ “Punctum” series, which refers to the photographic theory by French essayist Roland Barthes that describes how a detail in an image “pricks” or “bruises” a viewer’s subjectivity.

The sculpture’s reflective surface resembles the Vince Lombardi Trophy given to winners of the Super Bowl, and the work will sit adjacent to the encased trophy on game day. Nicki Ewell, the NFL’s senior director of events, says the mirrored surface allows the viewer to step into the scene of either a winning catch or a tough loss.

Thomas welcomes football fans to form their own interpretations of his work.

“You can’t do a monument to love or monument about opportunity that is in some way inspiration or hopeful without also confronting the adverse,” he said.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

February 2, 2023

Nazi soldiers buried a treasure. Nearly 80 years later, the search goes on.

The Jewish Museum to show recently restituted Marc Chagall painting

Creator of divisive King Monument builds sculpture for Super Bowl

Exhibition of new work by Alison Saar opens at L.A. Louver

The David Bonsall Collection of Decorative Arts and Design comes to Bonhams

Miles McEnery Gallery opens an exhibition of new paintings by Warren Isensee

Greene Naftali announces its representation of Brandon Ndife

Hamiltons Gallery celebrates Tomio Seike's 80th birthday with exhibition

Tina Kim Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Tania Pérez Córdova

Groundbreaking performance art exhibition opens at the Neuberger Museum of Art

Kent State University Museum announces new exhibitions "Head to Toe"

Asheville Art Museum opens 'Too Much Is Just Right: The Legacy of Pattern and Decoration'

Rowan University Art Gallery presents SuperCellular, a new site-specific immersive art gallery experience

Carin Goldberg, who transformed book and album cover design, dies at 69

Bonnie Raitt heads to the Grammys, recognized as a songwriter at last

California's leading conductors come together for a new festival

An ad hoc Ukrainian ballet troupe settles into life in The Hague

Frederick Holmes And Company presents a survey of paintings and drawings by Ken Moore

Head of Penguin Random House resigns

Moussem Cities Tehran at Bozar with Iranian cinema, music and visual arts

Phillips appoints Qing Shen as Senior Consultant in Mainland China

Spencer Museum to unveil $4M redesign and collection reinstallation

Holabird Western Americana Collections announces results of four-day auction

Matvey Levenstein receives the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant

Franklin Eugene - Pushing his brand to stay one step ahead of the competition

Super Charge Your RV Camping Life With The Ampeak Pro 2000W Power Inverter!

Exploring the Pyramids and Other Wonders of Egypt on an Exciting Tour




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Attorneys
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful