ASHEVILLE, N.C .— The Asheville Art Museum is organizing a group of three exhibitions drawn from the museum’s collection in conjunction with the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The exhibitions feature photographs of athletes by Walter Iooss Jr.; representations of athletes in a variety of media; and glass, ceramic, fashion and sculpture which utilize gold, silver and bronze. They will be on view in the Explore Asheville Exhibition Hall through Oct. 4.
“With these three exhibitions, the Asheville Art Museum is looking forward to bringing the Olympics to Asheville,” says Whitney Richardson, associate curator. “Athletes, sports fanatics and those who enjoy art that captures the human athletic form will, I hope, all find something valuable in visiting these exhibitions. Some of the artworks are by renowned artists and some depict world-famous athletes, but it all speaks to the importance of the Olympics—and sports in general—in our lives and how we honor our athletes.”
Golden Hour: Olympians Photographed by Walter Iooss Jr. highlights dozens of photographer Walter Iooss Jr.’s images from the museum’s collection. Over his 60-year career, Iooss has captured portraits of hundreds of celebrated American athletes in action, and a select few as they prepared for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He began his career shooting for Sports Illustrated and has contributed to the magazine for more than 50 years.
Artistic Tribute: Representation of the Athlete pays homage to the historic Olympic tradition of including the arts as a competition. Until 1948, the modern Olympics included artistic representations of the athletes in painting and sculpture, among other media, as the ancient Olympics had done. This exhibition features artworks from the museum’s collection that follow this custom by artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Dox Thrash, Gerald van de Wiele, Ward H. Nichols, Marvin Lipofsky, David Levinthal and more. This exhibition also features a loan from Art Bridges of Jeff Koon’s One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J Silver Series) from 1985 and will be shown with a Walter Iooss Jr. photograph of Dr. J in 1981.
Precious Medals: Gold, Silver, Bronze highlights works from the museum’s collection including glass, ceramic, fashion and sculpture that use the same metals that are given to the top three placing athletes in an Olympic competition. The precious nature of these three metals is examined in relation to the artworks shown. Artists featured in this exhibition include Virginia Scotchie, Mark Stanitz, William Waldo Dodge Jr., Richard Ritter, Jan Williams and more.
These three exhibitions are organized by the Asheville Art Museum and curated by Whitney Richardson, associate curator.