The Main Event
• Opening Reception Participatory Street Sporting Event by the Institute of Aesthletics and cool
concessions by the Van Leeuwan Brothers Ice Cream Truck
• 29th Anniversary Screening of Disco Demolition Documentary Film (July 5, 2008 4-6pm)
• Limited Edition Hyper Super Blooper Reel Commemorative DVD
• Exhibition Poster Catalog (Available at Schroeder Romero Gallery)
• Expanded archive of artworks, interviews and essays at www.themainevent.us
Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play.
-George Orwell, The Sporting Spirit, 1945
On July 12, 1972 a Chicago radio disc jockey strolled out to Comiskey Park's center field dressed in
Army fatigues. There, he gave a brief rallying declaration before detonating a box filled with
thousands of disco records. The 50,000 baseball fans in attendance promptly stormed the field and
began rioting. Order was not restored until the Chicago riot squad arrived at the stadium to haul
people away and put out the fires.
Almost two thousand years earlier, at a stadium in Rome, Emperor Commodus crafted his public
image in the light of the warrior Hercules, defeating all challengers in gladiatorial battles. These
contests reinforced his status as the protector of Rome, a god on Earth.
This year, we will experience two competitions at the world's highest levels: the Games of the XXIX
Olympiad in Beijing, and the American presidential election. With each of these events we see
athletics and games intertwined with issues of human rights, war, corporate branding, and power. As
these two spectacles unfold they will be framed and understood through narratives of heroes and
villains, triumph and defeat.
Inspired by these two historic contests, The Main Event draws from across the spectrum of human
competition to explore the ways in which the spheres of sports and athletics penetrate and
intermingle with the larger world. From Roman gladiators to baseball riots, sports provide a stage
for humans to dramatize their conflicts, express societal values, promote ideology, and configure
In the absurdist video from their episodic collaboration The Go Show Maria Dumlao, Jane
Johnston & Elaine Kaufmann lambast the "league" of galleries, and the competitive world of
artist trading by making analogy to the selection of players in the NBA draft. The art world, like the
world of professional sports is ruthless, and has proven to quickly turn it's back on those whose
performance is not consistently up to par. www.brainstormersreport.net
Alex Brown crafts intricate battle scenes based on historical, and imagined contests of human
competition. Brown's armies highlight the absurdity and futility of war as well as our nostalgic
romanticization of it. Drawn from video games and books, rather than the chaos of the embattled
world at large, his figures appear almost figurines chaotically spilled across the global game board.
Rob Carter's photographs address "...the conflicting relationships between architecture, sport,
religion, class, and entertainment" that contemporary athletic stadiums serve to represent as
iconographic structures. In Wrigley Castle, Carter draws parallels between historical European
fortresses and American baseball stadiums in order to reveal the power hierarchies of landscape
domination, and community development surrounding these significant edifices. www.robcarter.net
In her photograph Interrogation Mark Maria Dumlao injects the space of the sports stadium with a
sense of dread, recalling the history of the stadium as a site for death, violence and entertainment.
This piece also reminds us of how our country's ongoing war has become part of the everyday
The Institute for Aesthletics is an organization dedicated to the playing of sports as performance.
Aesthletics is a conscious acknowledgement of sport, especially contemporary spectator sports, as a
mixture of physical activity, social interaction, performance, and ritual. Aesthletics aims to unleash
the great opportunities inherent in competitive contests for social rather than monetary capital.
As part of The Main Event, the Institute for Aesthletics is organizing a participatory street sporting
event during the opening reception. Bring your sneakers and some Powerade, and partake in an
exciting new sport while dodging cars on 27th Street. Uniforms, equipment, and performance
enhancing drugs provided. www.aesthletics.org
In a critical interpretation of political competition, Marisa Olson's video 96-00-04-08 presents the
presidential elections of the last twelve years as a glorified version of the Coke vs. Pepsi taste test
Javier Piñón's piece Theseus and the Minotaur combines a classic Western narrative of masculine
heroism, and the symbol of American bravado, the cowboy. Set in a bull-fighting ring amid distant
grandstands this collage reveals the drama of conquest as a spectator sport. www.ziehersmith.com/
In her film Olympics Track and Field 2005, Shannon Plumb tells the story of a group of athletes
jockeying for the gold in a hilarious 8mm dissection of the Olympics' ritualistic pomp and
competitive spirit that evokes both Charlie Chaplin and Triumph of the Will.
With their sculptural installation Regulation Basketball Hoop #1 : Tower of Power, Justin Rancourt &
Chuck Yatsuk create an homage to one of the most arresting events in professional sports, the
unexpected annihilation of the basketball goal, transforming the game's towering symbol of power
into a fallen giant. www.vbpa.org
In his video, Fernando Sanchez presents the first play of Super Bowl XLI as seen by nine different
fans. The concurrent shifting of perspective whips the viewer into the thundering frenzy often
experienced by the participant viewers of a large sporting event, from those watching at home, to
those sitting in the stands. www.thankgodforconceptualart.com
Tom Sanford's twelve portraits of disgraced sports stars speaks to the systematic abuse by public
figures, such as professional athletes, as they take advantage of their privileged societal positions,
enlarging their human flaws to god-like caricatures of our own shortcomings. www.leokoenig.com/
The figures in Jessica Tam's paintings are writhing monsters of flesh. Her pictures of professional
wrestlers juxtapose the sport's inherent savagery with its distinctive theatricality. Despite the
intensely vibrant hues of oil paint, One Mask lays out a wrestling mask resembling an executioner's
hood, and Ring Monsters shows a frenetic interlocking of two sweat soaked men battling to death.
Tam's images speak to the power of costume to transform an individual into an terrifying harbinger
of pain. www.jessicajtam.com
Lee Walton's experiential models of performance based systems, has led him to collaborate with
the curators of The Main Event in order to remotely create a perpetually changing floor sculpture that
maps the results of six rounds of golf played over the duration of the
*The gallery will be closed on July 4th and on Saturdays in July.
August by appointment only.
The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11-6 and also by appointment. Please contact
the gallery for further information.
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