Football-themed art exhibit opens at UCA

Rachel Fountain

Athletics and art will collide this fall in a new exhibit at the University Art Museum.

The exhibit brings together art from over 40 American artists all centered on the same thing: football. Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present is an exhibit that will examine how football is an important reflection of our nation’s history and culture.

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Photos lining the walls at Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present at the University Art Museum. (Photo credits: Rachel Fountain)
Photos line the walls at Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present at the University Art Museum. (Photo Credit: Rachel Fountain)

Scrimmage includes a wide variety of art from the 19th to 20th centuries — including paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints and new media. Each piece allows the viewer to see how football has evolved along with American culture, from the sport’s creation in Ivy League colleges on the eastern seaboard to the nationwide pastime it is today.

Linda Frickman, director of the University Art Museum, hopes that Scrimmage will be a catalyst for conversation.

“The exhibition is arranged thematically, for example, with sections on spectatorship, celebrity culture and the influence of the media, violence, class, race and ethnicity in order to foster discussions about these themes and how they are manifest in art and in sport,” Frickman said.

The exhibit will also feature American artists throughout the centuries, from George Bellows to Andy Warhol and others. While football has been a common theme among many prominent American artists like these, the art has not been looked at collectively.

“Scrimmage began with an important discovery — that some of our most well-known American artists, from the mid-19th century through the contemporary present, had chosen to make images of football,” Frickman said.  “To our knowledge, this is the first serious look at this art, and the first time these images have been brought together.”

The exhibit will run through Dec. 19 at the University Art Museum, accompanied by various lecture series and discussions that will focus on the art, the issues it presents and how it relates to the world of sports today.

“We hope that the popular subject of football will draw new audiences,” Frickman said, “and that our visitors will realize that visual art is a language that can communicate important ideas and give us a greater understanding of ourselves, our history, our culture and our communities.”

Collegian A&E Reporter Rachel Fountain can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @rachelcfountain.