Living Pictures

Are you a Masterpiece?

Video installation, 1999 / 18 min / Floating screen 375 x 200 cm, 7 monitors Floor, walls and ceilings painted turquoise / Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf

Are You a Masterpiece? was filmed with the Tigers football team at Princeton. I had managed to be in touch with the team manager with the help of Barbara London at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. My questions were about art, beauty, the sublime, proportions, taste, gods, power and money. The players selected by the manager went in front of the camera wearing their helmets and team uniforms. It was summer and it was terribly hot in the basement of the stadium, and the players sweated profusely in front of the spots, but they never budged. They were like so many brave soldiers, because the president had asked them to do this to become artworks. After each session, I had to help them take off those tight plastic guards they wore on their torsos under their close- fitting T-shirts. It was a weird thing to do. They nearly all talked about the pain when they had to take the guards off, after their matches, when their bodies were bruised all over. After Heaven at the Düsseldorf Kunsthalle, this work was shown at the San Francisco Exploratorium during the American football championships (Superbowl), then at the Faith show at the Aldrish Museum of Contemporary Art of Ridgefield, and then at the Sydney Olympic Games in a critical exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, titled Sporting Life.

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