“Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present” opens at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon

“Scrimmage”, the first exhibition to investigate the history of football imagery by prominent American artists, is on view from July 30 – December 31, 2016


EUGENE, Ore. -- (July 7, 2016) –  “Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present,” an exhibition of art work by fifty-three artists with subject matter that examines the quintessentially American sport of football, opens at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon this summer.  On view from July 30 to December 31, 2016, the exhibition opens with a free kick-off party on Friday, July 29, from 6 to 8 p.m.


“Scrimmage” gathers original works of art for the first comprehensive survey of work by prominent American artists who have pictured football and its public culture. The exhibition ranges in time period from an 1857 wood engraving by Winslow Homer to recent works by contemporary artists Monique Crine, Shaun Leonardo, Catherine Opie, and William Wylie.


In addition to these artists, others represented in the exhibition include Ernie Barnes, George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Harold Edgerton, Charles Dana Gibson, Laura Gilpin, Red Grooms, Lewis Hine, Eadweard Muybridge, Tod Papageorge, Robert Rauschenberg, Frederic Remington, Norman Rockwell, Diego Romero, and Andy Warhol.


Organized by the JSMA and the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art (formerly University Art Museum) at Colorado State University, “Scrimmage” was co-curated by Danielle Knapp, McCosh Associate Curator at the JSMA, and Linny Frickman, Director of the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art.


This exhibition developed as the curators asked “What can images of football reveal about American culture?” The exhibition is not meant to present a history of football – the development of rules and gradual changes in play, the history of teams or players – but instead, it offers a window into themes central to American life, both past and current. Depictions of the American sport of football can be read as a cultural narrative that reflects attitudes and transitions in our country’s history.


“It is amazing to see how artists have been responding to football and interpreting its prominent role in American life since the nineteenth century. For most of the artists in this exhibition, their fame and recognition came for a much more broad body of work, of which football imagery may have been one small part,” says Knapp. “But it is fascinating to think about why they each chose to depict the sport at a certain time in American cultural history. The contemporary works on view reinforce the fact that artists have interesting and relevant observations on the sport – and pose new questions for our audience to consider.”


Divided into eight sections, the exhibition looks at “Football: The Spectator Sport,” “Class, Race and Ethnicity,” “Football, Struggle, War and the ‘Strenuous Life,’” “Gender in Football: Women’s Roles,” “Football and Violence,” “The American Sport,” “Celebrity Culture and the Media,” and “Athleticism.” The JSMA invites visitors to engage in a dialogue – with works of important American artists as a springboard – about sports, art, and their roles in our history and culture, and to reflect on how these images reveal attitudes and transitions in American life.


An exhibition catalog accompanies “Scrimmage” and will be available for purchase in the Museum Store. In addition to artist entries, the book includes the following essays: Michael Oriard (emeritus professor, Oregon State University,) “The Popular Press and the Beginnings of American Football Art,” Albert Bimper (assistant professor and senior associate athletics director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement, Colorado State University) “Black Pioneers: Transformations of the Color Line Across the Line-of-Scrimmage,” Robert Gudmestad (associate professor, Colorado State University) “Patriot Games: Military Displays at Football Games,” Linny Frickman (Gregory Allicar Museum of Art) “Roosevelt’s ‘Strenuous Life’: the Masculine Model from Remington to Barney,” Danielle Knapp (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art) “Making Landscapes, Building American Identities: Catherine Opie and High School Football.”  The catalog was made possible by funds from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation.


“Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present” is supported by the FUNd Endowment at Colorado State University; the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund; the City of Fort Collins Fort Fund City of Fort Collins Fort Fund and Cultural Resources Board; RBC Wealth Management; the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment; the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the University of Oregon Office of Advancement; and JSMA members.

About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, the Americas and Europe as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.


JSMA: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


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