You don’t have to be an athlete to understand what it means to step up to the plate or throw a Hail Mary pass. Sports metaphors are ingrained in our language because sports is such a part of our culture, be we participants or spectators.
Anything that meaningful is bound to find expression in art and design. The myriad ways arts and sports converge is the subject of “Score,” a citywide exhibition slated for February 2014, to coincide with the Winter Olympic Games.
Hope Cohn, curator and former director of Spruill Gallery, conceived and is organizing the multi-venue event as a vehicle to attract new audiences and funders to art and Atlanta’s arts institutions. Her partners include the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Museum of Design Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Sports arenas and other non-arts-related sites will also participate.
Although the roster of artists is far from complete, it’s clear that we’re not talking LeRoy Neiman here. Cohn is interested in such themes as cultural commentary and the parallels between art and sport. Examples include Catherine Opie‘s portraits of athletes, Atlanta artist Meg Aubrey‘s soccer and tennis moms, and Michael David Murphy‘s conceptual sports videos. Works by those artists and others will be included in “Score: Artists in Overtime” at MOCA GA. The local artists will produce new work for the occasion.
“This is a perfect fit for us,” says MOCA GA Director Annette Cone-Skelton. “Showing Georgia artists alongside national artists is what we want to do.”
At MODA, “Score: Intersections of Sports and Design” will present innovations in the design of sports equipment and show how these changes have been shaped by technology and innovative materials. On view will be MotivePro, a modular network of sensors attached to the body and used to map movement, and CTRUS Ball, the first hybrid see-through soccer ball. Interactivity will be an important part of the show.
Like Cone-Skelton, Laura Flusche, MODA’s new director, says the exhibition at her institution dovetails with its mission. “We are focusing on creativity and functionality,” she says. “We’re interested in how design changes everyday lives. In fact, we had been thinking about sports when Hope walked in the door.”
An added benefit is that the project will give the two institutions an opportunity to work together. The two museum directors hadn’t even met before Cohn introduced them. They are discussing joint ticketing for “Score” and maybe even a “fun run” between the institutions.
Which suggests the nontraditional programming that Cohn is planning as a complement to the exhibitions. Programs will address health, fitness and learning through plays as well as art. Among her ideas are an artist-designed, playable miniature golf course, family events involving music and dance, and an “art Olympics” in which teams from arts institutions would participate in arts-related games.