19 February 2010

World Cup Art?

William Kentridge (South Africa), Bicycle Kick (2009).

Up on my Google alerts today popped the web page for official vendor for "the FIFA 2010 Official Art Posters Edition series. Six local and eleven international artists were selected to create the poster collection. These works are a celebration of and homage to the ‘beautiful game.’" Now, I am not much a of a soccer fan - I can take it or leave it. But I do find the notion that the organizers of a major sporting event would devote at least part of their PR budget to commissioning actual artists (instead of advertising flaks) pretty impressive. The three posters I've lifted here are my favorites, but nearly all of the posters are interesting.

Kendell Geers (South Africa), Free Balling (2008).

Soly Cissé (Senegal), Football Continent (2008).

So, let's set aside commerce (each poster is an "official licensed product.") Here the boundaries between not just sports and politics, but between each of those two domains and art, are proving permeable. This must give those busy policing boundaries a real headache.

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Blogger Unknown said...


Kendell Geers' poster reminds me of David Hammons' 2001 'Basketball Drawing' (Harlem earth, paper, suitcase).


Given that Hammons work has always been situated in race politics, the mirror (or replication) of this technique in South Africa's world cup posters is an intriguing counterpoint.

I wonder if Geers was familiar with Hammons' work? I suspect the repetition is be one Hammons' would celebrate regardless; its a canny visual convergence from which a discussion of racial inequalities on two continents could develop.

19 February, 2010 11:42  
Blogger Masha said...

Fifa's approach to artwork around the world cup has been anything but impressive. "Controlling" is the word that springs to mind.

They have appointed an organisation to manage all public visual performance pieces during the tournament. No one may have any public shows (meaning - any at all. Pavement, buskers, anything) around that time that has not been endorsed by Fifa.

And this organisation is having trouble publicising to get artists to participate in the "endorsed" performances because Fifa wont let them use their logo.

Fifa photographically documented all shop fronts, business premises etc down the entire length of the street where I used to work. We were all informed that we are not allowed to make any changes, put up any displays, or anything that might be seen to be an attempt to profit from the world cup.

This street is the approach to the main stadium here.

21 February, 2010 04:18  

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