Filed under: Art, Basketball, Los Angeles Lakers | Tags: Basketball Art, James Worthy, Jonas Woods
From artist Jonas Woods’ solo show at L.A.’s David Kordansky Gallery. For everyone on the left coast, Woods’ show closes on this Saturday, May 12th.
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Photography, Poetry | Tags: Basketball Poetry, Cliff Dweller
you realize that
the spirit of the universe
swirls around you
like a gentle
The lowering sun beckons
your eyes and nothing else
This is all you need
This is your life,
that hunk of
one city street,
and you become
a thing of beauty
the evening’s stillness
with this pumpkin
in your hand
to be outside
because you have
a small hole to fill
A net of darkness
that you love
more than a best friend
Street lights are shining again
in the shadow of the city
You’re in the middle,
catching the ball
before you leap
as high as Olympus
And suddenly you see
on the ball
the very last drop
by Cliff Dweller
photo via superbomba
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Music, Photography | Tags: A Certain Ratio, Great Jams
A Certain Ratio – Do The Du (Casse)
Filed under: Basketball, Brawls, Bread City, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Video | Tags: David Stern, Derek Harper, Jo Jo English, John Starks, Pat Riley, Patrick Ewing, Rivalries, Scottie Pippen
It’s the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the Knicks are rocking black sneakers for good luck. This is their shot. 1994: the year without Jordan. New York has to win now, while they can. Because whatever little fantasy MJ is living out at that moment – pretending to be a baseball player, Indian chief, astronaut, or whatever – they all know it won’t last.
And the Knicks are winning the series 2-0, when the scuffle breaks out between Derek Harper and Jo Jo English in Game 3. These teams hate one another. Pippen and Charles Smith had technical fouls before the game even started. Now the benches clear quick.
The fight goes down to the ground on some bad jiujitsu. Arms and legs everywhere. John Starks is about to throw a punch when Phil Jackson grabs him from behind. They both get tackled into the stands, and security bodies Starks up. Ewing and Pippen play the old hold me back, hold me back game. And Pat Riley’s not even mad until Derek Harper puts hands on coach’s suit.
But the best part? David Stern sits a few mere rows from the melee. He’s literally close enough to reach out and break up the fight himself, but he can’t move. The commissioner just stares, bug-eyed, into his own personal slow motion disaster reel, as both teams crush the heavy spenders sitting courtside.
New York went on to win the series in 7 games, and Jordan returned to basketball the following season.
Filed under: Art, Basketball, Bread City, Jeff Koons | Tags: 1980s Aesthetics, 1980s NBA, Art History, Basketball Art, Costacos Brothers, Jeff Koons
The Costacos Brothers’ awesome 1980s sports posters were hung on bedroom walls across the country with scotch tape and awe. And in 1985, they were also hung in a gallery by Jeff Koons, who went on to sell them for hundreds of thousands of dollars as his own work.
Call it a hostile art takeover. How else could Koons manage to appropriate six of the Costacos’ well-known basketball posters for Equilibrium, his first solo show? It was easy. He went to Nike, bought the rights for an undisclosed amount, and started printing the certificates of authenticity.
Curators can spin Koons’ conceptual power move this way and that. But here’s the real deal, straight from his 1992 Taschen book: “It’s about artists using art for social mobility…white middle-class kids have been using art the same way that other ethnic groups have been using basketball — for social mobility.”
In contemporary art and basketball, big personalities rule. Koons saw something of himself in the Costacos Brothers’ one-shot athlete mythologies. He indulged this superstar artist fantasy by finding a way to justify flipping the posters as his own product.
From the perspective of today’s age of 24/7 internet image curation, where support for authorship is zilch, the whole story doesn’t seem that shocking. The idea of cool images being re-contextualized is familiar to anyone who knows understands what “re-blog” means. But how many re-blogs have you heard of netting $150,000 at Christies?
Tracking down the Equilibrium posters on the web is difficult, these days. After all, creating scarcity is a key element of how Koons transformed them into expensive art objects. So like bedroom sunlight faded so many Costacos posters over the years, every blog hit devalues Koons’ work a tiny bit more. Enjoy.
Filed under: Art, Basketball, Bread City | Tags: Basketball Art, Italo Calvino, NBA, Ron Artest
Noise vs. Lightness. Death to assisted resonance!
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York Knicks, Video | Tags: Basketball Documentary, Jeremy Lin, Linsanity
via Got’em Coach a.k.a. the director.
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Endangered Aesthetics, Michael Jordan | Tags: 1990s Aesthetics, Ephemera, Nostalgia, Outkast, Valentine's Day
Nothing says love like these deadstock Michael Jordan valentines, whether he’s dunking through the stratosphere or standing in front of a dead tree. Circa early 90s, when cool was king.
Filed under: Architecture, Art, Basketball, Bread City, History, Journalism, Photography, War | Tags: Basketball Archeology, Basketball History, Iraq
I. American troops play basketball in Saddam Hussein’s occupied Birthday Palace. Tikrit, Iraq, 2004.
original photo by Paolo Woods
II. The 1948 Summer Games in London was the first and only time that Iraq fielded an Olympic basketball team. They sustained five of the tournament’s worst defeats. Iraq lost to China, Korea, the Philippines, and Chile by an average of 86 points per game. The United States won gold.
III. “The next week, back in Baghdad, I had a whiskey one evening with the Time bureau manager and a pair of reporters and told them about the killings at the basketball game… The bureau manager lit another cigarette as we sat in silence for a moment. ‘And especially, basketball being a pro-Western sport was nonsense,’ he said. ‘Iraqis have been playing basketball for fifty years, since long before all this. They love it.’”
– From The End of Major Combat Operations, by Nick McDonnell
photo by Richard Mosse
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, History, New York Knicks, Sports Photography | Tags: 1970s NBA, Basketball History, Bill Bradley, Princeton Bulldogs
What attracted me was the swish, the sound of the dribble, the feel of going up in the air. You don’t need eight others, like in baseball. You don’t need any brothers or sisters. Just you. I wonder what the guys are doing back home. I’d like to be there, but it’s as much fun here, because I’m playing. It’s getting dark. I have to go back for dinner. I’ll shoot a couple more. Feels good. A couple more.
- From A Sense of Where you Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton, by John McPhee
The Knicks stole Bill Bradley in the 1965 NBA Draft. There was no frozen envelope, just a now-obscure rule known as the Territorial Pick. Between 1950 and 1966, NBA teams had first dibs on drafting any college player within 50 miles.
Bradley had graduated from Princeton as the Associated Press Player of the Year, the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and a two-time First Team All-American. And since Princeton, New Jersey is 1 mile closer to New York City than to Philadelphia, the Knicks were able to scoop Bradley away from the 76ers as a Territorial Pick.
The rest is history: Bradley played with New York for his entire basketball career – save for one season with Olimpia Milano – and his #24 jersey was retired by the Knicks in 1984.
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Journalism, New York Knicks, Sports Photography | Tags: 1970s Culture, 1970s NBA, Basketball History, Earl Monroe, New York City History, Woody Allen
“What makes Monroe different is the indescribable heat of genius that burns deep inside him. Some kind of diabolical intensity comes across his face when he has the ball. One is suddenly transported to a more primitive place…It’s amazing, because the audience’s “high” originates inside Monroe and seems to emerge over his exterior.“
- Woody Allen, Sport Magazine, Nov. 1977.
Allen is sent by the once-great Sport to interview Earl Monroe for a cover story. But Pearl never shows and Allen is left to make small talk with “Earl’s lady.” A true fan, Woody swallows the snub and writes a great profile of the arthritic Knicks captain anyway, full of signature wit and basketball wisdom.
Filed under: Art, Basketball, Bread City, New York City, Photography | Tags: Google Satellite View, Jenny Odell, Photography
Jenny Odell makes collages from Google Maps’ satellite view mode, like the digital print entitled Every Basketball Court in Manhattan. She writes, “From this view, the lines that make up basketball courts… become like hieroglyphs that read: people were here.”
There are at least 100 in this image. Still, there’s no way she got them all. My favorite courts are somehow obscured. Some are partially hidden from view in chain-link rooftop domes. Others are concealed below the West Side Highway, so safe from the elements that you can play a pick-up game in a hurricane. And many are simple backboards in schoolyards without lines or marks.
But Odell is right about one thing: The court is a record. There are no written accounts or pick-up game historians. The physical court itself is the only proof we have of what happened there.