We invite you to the issue and exhibition launch of...
On view January 23 - February 6
Artists and Featured Athletes: Haig Aivazian, Darryl Dawkins, Sally Dixon, Cara Erskine, Karen Kraven, Mark Gonzales, Pasha Malla and Jeff Parker, Hazel Meyer and Cait McKinney, Ayanah Moor, Zinedine Zidane
Organizers: Astria Suparak and Brett Kashmere, Editors, INCITE Journal of Experimental Media #7/8: Sports
We are the champions. And the losers. This is a non-zero-sum game, where gains can be made off the scoreboard, outside of the game clock, beyond the field, and even in moments rife with pain or ambiguity.
This exhibition divulges shameful and disregarded aspects of sports. It accentuates the kinships and struggles of athletes, and revels in the moments that break with the past and usher in new eras. Sports are not a refuge from the “real world”; sports have been and always are political. The intertwining of sports with protest and nationalism, and their unshakeable connections with race, gender, and religion, unite a poster by Ayanah Moor, a collage by Haig Aivazian, and coloring book pages by Cara Erskine (the latter are available to the public for free). A drawing by Hazel Meyer imagines a secret currency of hair elastics amongst female athletes, paired with writing by Cait McKinney on the camaraderie and seriousness of women’s athletics.
Befitting the setting of a bookstore gallery, McKinney and Meyer point to the precarity of the informally published materials archivists call “grey literature.” And two works play on language: An unfamiliar script relays Simone Biles' and Nadia Comăneci’s Olympic gold winning routines in Karen Kraven’s Risograph prints, as jotted down in the abstruse shorthand used by gymnastics judges; and poetry created out of athletes’ responses in televised interviews showcase Darryl Dawkins’ well-deserved swagger and Zinadine Zidane’s dignity in the face of insult.
Archival photos attest to the early history and travails of women in basketball and a revelatory moment in skateboarding with Mark Gonzales. Former Carnegie Museum curator Sally Dixon’s letters to the National Football League’s film production company, meanwhile, represent a fascinating what-if; written on behalf of avant-garde titan Stan Brakhage, who sought, unsuccessfully, to document the Pittsburgh Steelers at a moment of the league’s transformation into a pop culture juggernaut.
Brett Kashmere and Astria Suparak’s floor installation of actual-size goal lines for the seven major American team sports arguably makes this exhibition a site of the most winning potential.
Winningest is part of A Non-Zero-Sum Game: Sports, Art, and the Moving Image, a series of exhibitions and events launching, and part of, INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media’s newest issue, Sports. Other INCITE: Sports events include:
January 24, 7pm: Discussion on sports and politics with Ezekiel Kweku and Ameer Loggins, moderated by Sarah Hotchkiss, at Kadist, 3295 20th St.
February 3, 3pm: Reception at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, 3130 24th St.
February 17, 7:30pm: Film screening with San Francisco Cinematheque at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St.
March 3, 8:30pm: Film screening at Other Cinema, Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia St.
Some of the sports teams, moments, and individuals covered in Winningest:
1901: Normal State College women’s basketball, Greensboro, North Carolina.
1976: Nadia Comăneci becomes the first gymnast awarded a perfect score at the Olympics. She went on to receive six more perfect 10s and three gold medals that year.
1979: Darryl Dawkins, a.k.a. “Chocolate Thunder,” unleashes two backboard-shattering dunks, spurring the NBA to implement breakaway rims.
1990s: Mark Gonzales creates the Circle Board by connecting together nine skateboards end-to-end into a giant loop.
1992: The U.S. men’s basketball team, dubbed the “Dream Team,” destroys their competition to win gold in Barcelona while receiving unprecedented media attention. The star-studded team, the first to feature NBA stars, help turn the sport into a global phenomenon.
1996: The Denver Nuggets’ Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a legendary long-range shooter, refuses to stand for the playing of the national anthem before games, citing United States’ long history of tyranny and the flag as a symbol of oppression. After the NBA suspended him, he negotiated a compromise with the league, whereby he would stand during the anthem but could close his eyes and look downward.
2006: In extra time of the World Cup Final, French soccer star Zinedine Zidane responds to Italian defender Marco Materazzi’s racist and sexist insult of Zidane’s mother with a head-butt straight into his opponent’s chest. The action earned Zidane a disqualifying red card. Italy went on to win the final on penalties.
2016: Tina Charles, of the New York Liberty, tweets a photo of herself wearing a #BlackLivesMatter #Dallas5 shirt with the caption, “I refuse to be silent @WNBA”. Simone Biles walks away from her first Olympics with five medals (four gold), becoming one of the greatest gymnasts in history.
ABOUT INCITE: SPORTS
INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media #7/8: Sports
Editors: Astria Suparak and Brett Kashmere
Layout and Design: Stripe SF / Jon Sueda
Contributors: Haig Aivazian, Christina Battle, Rosie Casals, Rebecca Cleman, Jason Concepcion (@netw3rk), Daniel D’Amore, Sally Dixon, Cara Erskine, Russell Field, David Filipi, Walter Forsberg, Howard Fried, Brian L. Frye, Leo Goldsmith, Allison Grant, Isla Hansen, Alex Johnston, Brett Kashmere, Germaine Koh, Karen Kraven, Pasha Malla, Tara Mateik, Hazel Meyer, Cait McKinney, Cameron Moneo, Ayanah Moor, Jeff Parker, Damien Picariello, Jasmine Pisapia, Leila Pourtavaf, Risa Puleo, Rachael Rakes, Chris Reeves, Amy Sadao, Jon Sueda, Astria Suparak, Martine Syms, Geo Wyeth, Kim Ye, Tanya Zimbardo, Gregory Zinman
+ sportstalk from John Amaechi, Larry Bird, Jason Collins, Darryl Dawkins, Mark Gonzales, Kwame Harris, Martina Navratilova, Ronda Rousey, Sheryl Swoopes, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Zinedine Zidane
ABOUT INCITE JOURNAL:
INCITE Journal of Experimental Media is an artist-run publication dedicated to the culture, community, and discourse of experimental video, film, and new media. Since 2008, INCITE has produced yearly thematic print issues containing artists’ writings, interviews, original artwork, manifestos, scholarly articles, and photo and comics dossiers; as well as an online interview series, artist multiples, a DVD compilation, and public events. Sports will be INCITE’s first issue produced in the Bay Area.