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Flattened Basketballs as Art – The New York Times

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For many of us, the outdoors serve as a refuge — a place to gather (at a social distance, of course) and live some sort of normalcy as the pandemic continues to disrupt society.

Then there is the artist Tyrrell Winston, who has spent years scouring the outside world to gather the material he has made integral to his work. Winston’s pieces are typically made with objects he finds outside — most commonly, flattened basketballs and cigarette butts.

“When I’m walking down the street, I’m seeing art materials,” Winston said during a recent Zoom interview. “It’s literally, ‘What can I use or what can I look at that I have never seen before?’”

Winston, 35, is based in New York City and has no formal art training, but he has made a career out of combining his two loves — basketball and art — to create compelling three-dimensional works. He said he was currently constructing something for Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers: a piece of 168 flattened basketballs. (Gilbert had commissioned two other pieces by Winston that are outside the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, where the Cavaliers play.)

Once Winston finishes this piece, it will be the largest artwork of flattened basketballs collected by an N.B.A. owner, supplanting one that belongs to Michael Rubin, a Philadelphia 76ers co-owner, who has a Winston piece made of 105 basketballs.

The flattened basketballs used to come from Winston’s travels through Manhattan and Brooklyn. A used basketball, he said, tells its own story. “And I do not have to ascribe, put words with it, and it becomes abstract in that way,” he said. “I want my work to mean many things to many people. There is no one definitive meaning.”

Credit…Brittainy Newman for The New York Times

Now, Winston has graffiti artists sourcing balls for him in California, upstate New York, Florida, Texas and other parts of the United States. They often come from train tracks, Winston said, a common home for basketballs. Or junk shops. Estate sales. Any place. They just have to be used.

“Weather is my favorite assistant, and that’s just something I have no desire to try to figure out how to manipulate or that I want to, because the ethos of the work is about all of these touches that are not mine,” he said.

One reason Winston started using found pieces for his art was that he had $150,000 in college debt when he graduated from Wagner College with an arts administration major during the recession in 2008. He did not have money to buy materials, and on top of that, he didn’t know how to paint. But he knew he wanted to be an artist, especially after attending a Dada exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.

Two of Winston’s biggest influences are Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who died in 1968, and David Hammons, an American artist. They pioneered “found art” pieces — although in very different ways. Duchamp was a father of Dadaism, an avant-garde art movement of the early 20th century that aimed to be “anti-art.” He dabbled in the whimsy and the outward rejection of conventional art, as in his piece “Fountain,” a urinal he signed “R. Mutt,” considered one of the most notable artworks of the 20th century. In the latter half of the 20th century, Hammons constructed several vivid commentaries on being Black in America through pieces made from hair on the floor in barbershops, from sweatshirts and from constructing basketball hoops several stories high, among many others.

Credit…Brittainy Newman for The New York Times
Credit…Brittainy Newman for The New York Times
Credit…Brittainy Newman for The New York Times

Sports are a clear influence on Winston’s art, even aside from flattened basketballs and used nets — another common material for him. He grew up a Los Angeles Clippers fan in Orange County, Calif. One of his pieces, 2019’s “Don’t Forget to Floss,” has a used basketball rim on top of a stool. It is a direct homage to Duchamp, who did the same with a bicycle wheel in one of his early works. Winston’s latest exhibit is a digital display with the gallery Library Street Collective in Detroit. Sports fans will find many of the pieces familiar and possibly sacrilegious, depending on one’s point of view.

Winston, whose work has been displayed all over the world, takes on a sports-obsessed society, particularly the hype surrounding sports memorabilia. Here is a look at some of the pieces on display.

Credit…Courtesy of Tyrrell Winston and Library Street Collective

In this series of paintings, Winston recreates the signatures of some of the most famous athletes in history — painting their autographs over and over in a series called “Punishment Paintings.” Among the athletes whose autographs Winston recreates are Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, Muhammad Ali and Mickey Mantle. He suggests that their level of fame is a form of “punishment” in itself, because society does not allow them to be flawed.

“I want people to ask, ‘Why have I chosen these people?’” Winston said, adding, “We have commodified some of these athletes and we look at them as immortal and put an unfair expectation on them sometimes.”

But Winston said that the punishment of fame isn’t the only kind of punishment he is concerned with. There is also the physical.

“So when I say, ‘Punishment Paintings,’ too, it’s the training and the mental endurance that these people that we put on these pedestals have to endure,” Winston said.

Credit…Courtesy of Tyrrell Winston and Library Street Collective

This is one that hard-core sports fans may find surprising. Winston simply takes pieces of valuable, authenticated, signed memorabilia — such as a Jordan-autographed basketball and a Rose-signed baseball — and puts his own John Hancock on them, a purposeful act of desecration.

The act is a homage in itself. Winston likened it to one by Robert Rauschenberg, the influential American artist who, like Duchamp, specialized in turning artistic expectations on their head. Rauschenberg once took a valuable drawing by Willem de Kooning, another 20th-century giant of American art who popularized Abstract Expressionism, and erased it with de Kooning’s permission. He put the blank piece of paper on display in 1953. Even as one of Rauschenberg’s most daring pieces, to take a valuable drawing and perform an act of what some would consider destruction, it did not create a public sensation until the 1960s.

To Winston, the signing of the Jordan ball is a tribute in itself. But he has an analogy that basketball fans today may more readily recognize as an explanation for this piece of work.

“It is Iverson crossing over Jordan his rookie year and hitting that shot,” Winston said. “I like to have those parallels. This is a moment in our history, but it’s also an athletic accomplishment. And me doing that Jordan ball, I mean, I’ll tell you, man, I was so nervous. It’s because of the respect and the admiration that I have for Michael Jordan as a basketball player. And I still think my signature looks kind of funny on it because I have so much respect.”

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Former Vancouver Canucks goalie’s art featured in Kelowna Art Gallery exhibition

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Richard Brodeur used to make his living holding a goalie stick, but these days, the man formerly known as “King Richard” by Vancouver Canucks fans, is more likely to be found with a paintbrush in his hand.

“It’s always a challenge like [when] you play professional hockey, you have a challenge every day, every game and then I feel the same every time with a painting. It’s a challenge every time you face the canvas,” said Brodeur.

The new Okanagan resident is one of three artists featured at the Kelowna Art Gallery in an exhibit that reveals the story behind the artwork.

“I’ve been dealing with depression for over 30 years and I have had about 13 concussions when I played so that didn’t help,” said Brodeur. “You gotta find something that will get you out of it or help you anyway and that’s what my painting did.”

The Art Council of the Central Okanagan is striving to bring art to the community safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With what’s going on in the world there is really nothing we can do to control it but we can control our own environment,” said Kirsteen McCullouch, Arts Council of the Central Okanagan executive director.

“I think it’s really critical to bring joy and peace and harmony in a time of darkness and through art, we do that.”

Storytellers also feature Summerland artist Danielle Krysa and Vernon’s Jude Clarke. Clarke’s story is inspired by her environment.

“The lake made a huge impact on me, water is really a beautiful environment for me I was in the water, I was on the water, I was around the water and hiking in the hills all the time,” said Clarke.

As for Brodeur, his work is telling the story of his childhood, playing pick up hockey on outdoor rinks growing up in Quebec.

The exhibit will be open to the public until Jan. 31 at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

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Vernon Community Art Centre holding annual Christmas art sale – Vernon News – Castanet.net

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You will not find any of these gift ideas in a big box store.

The Vernon Community Art Centre is hosting its 15th annual Artsolutely artisan sale full of Christmas gifts.

Sheri Kunzli, with the Arts Council of the North Okanagan, said all of the works are made by local artists and are a one-of-a-kind creation.

The art centre sells art year round, but in December they shut down their programs and dedicate the entire Polson Park building to the art sale that is open seven days a week through Dec. 24.

Works from more than 35 artists are on sale.

Every piece is carefully handcrafted and locally made, and each artisan is selected through a jurying process to ensure the highest quality throughout.

“Everything is hand made, unique quality and all of the artists go through a jurying process to participate which keeps the quality up,” said Kunzli.

“The Arts Centre is one of Vernon’s gems. It’s more than a place to shop, and it is more than an arts education facility. It’s a community space that offers a place for people of all ages and abilities to create, play, laugh, gain skills, release stress, heal and develop friendships. Having to shut down the Arts Centre in the Spring was devastating on many levels.

“As a non-profit, the closure set us back significantly, but it also impacted the hundreds of people that utilize the Centre. We are working hard to keep the doors open because our community needs us. This place tells the stories of why the arts matter to individuals and our community at large. It’s a place that has been a haven for creatives and allowed people to thrive.”

For more information on Artsolutely, click here.

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North Vancouver's Anonymous Art Show identifies safe way to hold exhibition this year – Vancouver Is Awesome

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A well-known annual event where anonymous local artists are encouraged to sell their original works will now feature a buying public who will remain largely unseen as well.

North Van Arts’ 16th annual Anonymous Art Show has moved online this year in order to follow new provincial health orders.

Following a week-long preview, the sales begin tonight (Nov. 26) at 7 p.m. and will continue until Dec. 19 at 5 p.m.

Unlike live performance venues, arts retail spaces and galleries – such as CityScape Community ArtSpace where the show is usually held – are technically allowed to remain open under new COVID-19 restrictions put in place on Nov. 19, as long as no formal community events are held.

While the exhibition is being installed and will remain at CityScape, North Van Arts has opted to essentially suspend its in-person exhibition this year and is instead encouraging the public to check out and purchase the pieces online, according to Nancy Cottingham Powell, executive director at North Van Arts.

“Normally on opening night we would have 300 people going through this gallery. Obviously that’s not going to happen right now,” said Powell. “Viewing it online is really the way to go.”

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Original artwork from 250 emerging and established artists from North and West Vancouver will be up for grabs for $100 apiece. Proceeds from the art show are split between the local artists and North Van Arts, who will use the funds to supports ongoing programming.

The artist behind each painting will remain anonymous until their work is sold and their name is revealed, according to Powell.

“It’s a great test-place for people,” said Powell. “I think it’s an important show because we’ve got the whole community at the table.”

More than 125 would-be art buyers have already registered for the opening night of sales, added Powell.

Click here for more information about this year’s Anonymous Art Show.

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