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Edgar Heap of Birds loves basketball. The artist holds season tickets for his team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and attends every game with family, wearing custom jerseys with his Cheyenne name, Hock E Aye Vi.
So it was a natural fit when Project Backboard, a nonprofit that invites artists to make over existing community courts, proposed that he redesign two in Long Island City, New York. The new courts were unveiled this past October, their grounds painted with jagged-edged patches of invigorating blues and greens, complete with new backboards sporting phrases like “NEW YORK TODAY YOUR HOST IS SHINNECOCK” and “NEW YORK TODAY YOUR HOST IS MOHAWK.”
Read the full essay written by Claire Voon at www.artsy.net.
LOST [in translation] arrives on the twenty-year anniversary of one of sports most iconic, and one of sports media’s most exploitative, moments. LOST [in translation] re-focuses the lens on this moment in order to highlight what the media overlooked and correct a misrepresentation that has persisted for two decades...
"On a pickup basketball court, no matter how good you are, you ask to be let on a team, and into the game. Which is to say, you are a perpetual guest. Likewise on a pickup court, when you have the next game, you are often inviting others onto your team, and so you also get to be a host. On a pickup basketball court you might have the opportunity to call the next game—I got next!—but you can’t call the next three, or the next to eternity. Which is to say, pickup doesn’t abide the settler."
Text by Ross Gay, excerpted from Inciting Joy by Ross Gay. Published by Algonquin Books. Copyright © 2022 by Ross Gay. All rights reserved.
Andrew Keh writes for the New York Times about the rising visibility of basketball art.
Image: An exhibit of basketball-inspired art called “To the Hoop” at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, N.C., including “Akhet 1” by David Huffman and “Well Hung” by Suzanne McClelland. Martin W. Kane for UNCG University Communications, 2020.
A new book brings together the works of 250 artists, among them Richard Avedon, Salvador Dalí, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, to offer an inclusive view of the sport from the modern lens.
Posted Wednesday 19th May, 2021
Text by Miss Rosen
Photography © Joel Meyerowitz (main image)
“Of course all good and productive public art is often created for a community,” Edgar Heap of Birds said. “These citizens can use the work, add to it and/or be enlightened. Effective public art is not to only ‘decorate.’ The community adds to the work by playing/being active on the court paintings.”
“Our courts speak from a Sovereign perspective, in that to honor the earth, seas, animals, sky, natural world is a Native focus and priority,” he said. “Sovereignty is about origins and honor to offer the good as well as protect what we hold sacred, such as our youth and elders, those entities should always come first along with our natural world.”
Read the full essay written by Blake Gillespie at www.sacredhoopsbook.com.
Photographer and public historian, Sola Olosunde, captures the final weekend of Edgar Heap of Birds' Native Hosts installation at Murray Park, 11th St. & 45th Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101, on October 30, 2022.
See the photo essay here.
Blake Gillespie, journalist, photographer, and writer at Sacred Hoops, visits Faith Ringgold's court at St.Nicholas Park in Harlem and helps Project Backboard renovate a court with artist Andrea Bergart at McCaffrey Playground, in New York City.