First-ever playable basketball court in an art museum, CAMH COURT with artist Tren
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First-ever playable basketball court in an art museum, CAMH COURT with artist Tren
Backboard (Becoming the Toymaker).

HOUSTON, TX.- Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and adidas Basketball announce CAMH COURT, the first-ever playable basketball court in an art museum, commissioned and designed by Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock. CAMH COURT is on view, and playable, from March 18–April 27, 2023.

The NCAA Men’s Final Four® lands in Houston this spring. In celebration of this, one of the United States’ oldest non-collecting contemporary art museums will transform into a basketball court. CAMH COURT is a unique envisioning of a basketball court conforming to the signature dimensions of CAMH’s Brown Foundation Gallery through the canting of a regulation-size court into a parallelogram. Emerging from Hancock’s hyper-imagination, the court is an immersive and uniquely spirited playing environment where audiences can dunk from the three-point line or lose themselves in the embrace of Hancock’s striped Bringback characters, which swarm from baseline to baseline.

CAMH COURT adds a new layer to Hancock’s storied history with CAMH, which originated with his first solo museum exhibition, Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Life and Death of #1 (2001); featured his work in the group show, Splat, Boom Pow! The Influence of Comics in Contemporary Art (2003); and presented his acclaimed retrospective, Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing (2014).

CAMH COURT builds upon the deep history of artist-designed sporting environments—Robert Indiana’s MECCA Arena floor in Milwaukee (1977), Simparch’s free basin skate bowl (2000), the famed Pigalle court in Paris (2017), and most recently, Project Backboard’s revitalized community courts. CAMH COURT is not simulated or symbolic; it’s a place to sweat. The backboards, game balls, ballers, and referees unite to create a place less like a museum than a community anchor. CAMH COURT speaks across communities, bridging Dr. James Naismith’s original 13 Rules with Houston’s March Madness and the ecstatic promise of an art museum whose doors are thrown open in radical welcome.

All ages are welcome to play, with a special youth court available to those ages 12 and under. Players must sign a waiver to play and wear rubber-soled shoes to walk on the court. Those without the right shoewear will be given slipover shoe covers to wear. Players can get a basketball to play by giving any form of ID to the front desk to check out a basketball. The court is open play as first-come, first-serve unless otherwise programmed. Players under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present.

Throughout the exhibition, community partners will activate CAMH COURT with programming and events, culminating in the CAMH Ball on April 29, a sneakers-only iteration of CAMH’s annual gala and art auction. Through basketball-focused events and Hancock’s large- scale art commission, CAMH COURT presents an unforgettable experience of contemporary art, basketball, and culture.

adidas Basketball is supporting this CAMH exhibit with programming opportunities and visibility to this unique expression of basketball as art.

CAMH COURT is organized by Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and curated by Hesse McGraw, Executive Director.

Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) is an artist who lives and works in Houston, Texas. Raised in Paris, Texas, Hancock earned his BFA from Texas A&M University-Commerce and his MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia. Hancock was featured in the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennial exhibitions, at the time becoming one of the youngest artists in history to participate in the prestigious survey. For almost two decades, Hancock has constructed fantastical narratives that continue to develop and inform his prolific artistic output. Part fictional, part autobiographical, Hancock’s work pulls from his own personal experience, art history, comics and superheroes, pulp fiction, and myriad pop culture references, resulting in a complex amalgamation of characters and plots possessing universal concepts of light and dark, good and evil, and all the gray in between.

As a whole, Hancock’s highly developed cast of characters acts out a complex mythological battle, creating an elaborate cosmology that embodies his unique aesthetic ideals, musings on color, language, emotions, and, ultimately, good versus evil. Hancock’s mythology has also been translated through performance, even onto the stage in an original ballet, Cult of Color: Call to Color, commissioned by Ballet Austin, and through site-specific murals for the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park.

Established in 1948, CAMH is one of the oldest non-collecting contemporary art museums in the country, and is internationally known for presenting pivotal and landmark work by artists recognized as the most important of the 20th and 21st centuries. CAMH’s mandate is to be present, to connect artists and audiences through the urgent issues of our time, and to adventurously promote the catalytic possibilities of contemporary art. CAMH’s programming, both in and beyond the Museum, is presented free to the public, and advocates for artists’ essential role in society.

adidas Basketball believes that basketball lives at the intersections. The points in which sport meets culture, meets fashion, music and art. Basketball has inspiration and influence on millions of people off the court, just as much as it has on the court. To bring the two together is an incredible opportunity that we’re excited to help bring to life.

adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach/ Germany, the company employs more than 61,000 people across the globe and generated sales of €21.2 billion in 2021.

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