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Sports in Art

The release of “Rush,” the latest movie to showcase race car drivers and auto racing, the connection between sports and art is back in the public imagination. Almost from the beginning of moving pictures, film and video and now digital recording have been used to document and broadcast actual sporting events.  However, there are dozens and dozens of films that have been made that put sport as the artistic center of a movie or other filmed program.

Film is far from the only art form that has celebrated sports.  Sculptures, paintings, and assemblages with sport as a subject date back millennia and exist in almost every culture that has both sport and art.  In modern times, photographs, prints and posters have also been created with sporting content.

In 1984 the American Sport Art Museum and Archives was founded at the United States Sports Academy.  It houses a collection of over 1,000 pieces of art that  preserve “the performance and movement of man” including a 2-story mural entitled “a Tribute to the Human Spirit” by Maestro Cristobal Gabarron.  They also give an annual Sports Artist of the Year award to an artist who captures “the spirit of sport.”

In 2012 the American Federation of Arts worked with Sports Illustrated to assemble the Sport in Art collection. This show traveled to museums across the country and featured 102 works of art depicting everything from fishing to football to boxing. The media involved included prints, drawings, and paintings. In 2013 the Daytona Art Institute presented two sports-related exhibits, “Andy Warhol: Athletes” and “The Art of Sport: Highlights from the Collection of the Dayton Art Institute.”

Below are several videos that celebrate sport in art:

contributed by Ben Hutchinson, a popular sports columnist whose profiles of athletes like  Calvin Johnson and Serena Williams have appeared on numerous blogs and news sites.