When I received notice that Franklin Sirmans, curator and head of contemporary art at LACMA, was planning a soccer — er fútbol — exhibit, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Art is my passion. To my dismay, it is not so much for Mr. Dottie. He is all about fútbol. He has been known to travel halfway across the world for 24 hours, just to see a great game. Hence, I was over the moon anticipating Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, an exhibit exclusively focused on fútbol that officially opened February 2, 2014 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. My friends, the show did not disappoint. Ole, ole, ole Franklin!
We entered the Fútbol reception in the Broad Contemporary building to the rhythm of a Brazilian marching band and a super cool bag of soccer balls by Guatemalan artist Dario Escobar hanging overhead. Then, we took in the wildest mixed medium piece by Brazilian artist Nelson Leirner. It encompasses little plastic commercial figurines, like superheroes, frogs, and Jesus, representing the dynamics of the game and its players. There was a very relaxed vibe in the air as this audience encompassed both the usual art lovers and patrons and fútbol fans from all over the world. Who knew there was such an array of soccer-related sculpture, paintings, and video installations? These works are not only beautiful in their own right, but for those in the know (not moi this go), many mark poignant moments in the history of the game. Mr. Dottie loved the Andy Warhol Pele silkscreen. He recounted the full story that, in 1970, a journalist asked, “How do you spell Pele?” and the response was “G-O-D.” His very favorite installation was a three-part video by Paul Pfeiffer Caryatid Red, Yellow, Blue that displayed videos of fútbol players diving on the field. I must admit, not being a sports lover, it almost evokes the ever dreaded; contemporary art dilemma: “Is this art? My children could do this!” Well cynics, the answer is yes — such a display is art at its very core. When one views any of this exhibit’s installations (many of which have earphones attached for full appreciation), an expression of joy, sorrow, camaraderie, human spirit, and homoeroticism is immediately apparent. Like any art, fútbol is an international language. In fact, 10-15 countries are represented throughout the exhibit. This show is groundbreaking not only in its substance, but in the audience it garners. Fútbol enthusiastically speaks to contemporary art lovers, sports enthusiasts, children, and persons of all demographics and nationalities. Please enjoy my Download with this wonderful exhibit’s curator, Franklin.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS?
I guess my process changes and goes in and out of periods of sustained thought for shows or on specific artists. I listen to a lot of music and I read books to get my mind going.
WHAT DO YOU COLLECT?
I started out at a time when it was considered sacrilegious for curators to collect art. Obviously, times have changed. I had a young curator tell me the other day he was going to buy his first home with the work a friend had given him. And the friend was in on it. I can’t imagine selling the work my dear friends gave me early in their careers. But we shall see… On a curator’s budget, we collect what we are privileged to from our friends.
WHAT IS YOUR THEME SONG?
Hmmm… Depends on the day. “Melancholy” today. Theme song this morning is Fleetwood Mac “The Chain”.
ARE YOU AN INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT?
Both. Extremely introverted, but I act like an extrovert.
WHO IS THE PERSON WHO INSPIRES YOU MOST?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PHILANTHROPIC CAUSE?
Manhattan Country School.
Futbol: The Beautiful Game
February 2 – July 20, 2014
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA