Recently there was an excellent show in Calgary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, an exhibition entitled Andy Warhol: The Athlete Series. The exhibit ran for the month of January, so of course I managed to get downtown to see if on the last day. I mean they had already moved the wooden packing crates into the exhibition space! I am so glad I made the effort. What a treat seeing all that fantastic art right at my doorstep, and what an idiot I am waiting for the last day! But I did see it, and here’s a peak.

The exhibition features 10 Warhol paintings of Muhammed Ali, O.J. Simpson, Pele, Jack Nicklaus, Dorothy Hamill, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chris Evert, Tom Seaver, Willie Shoemaker and Rod Gilbert. I only have one shot of this group as there were always people standing in my way. These paintings are from the collection of Richard Weisman from Seattle. He must have an incredible collection of art. Mr. Weisman was integral in connecting Andy Warhol with these athletes. You can see the paintings more clearly on this link on a wanted poster, as the entire collection was stolen from the Weisman residence in 2009. Hopefully the Weismans have upgraded their security by moving from Los Angeles.

sports figures

The next 2 pieces show hockey star Wayne Gretzky. The first one shows a trial print testing color options. The second one is the “finished” piece. When you are as famous as Andy Warhol, you can frame (and sell) all your versions.

other Wayne Gretzky Wayne Gretzky

Also on display were several pieces on loan from collectors in Calgary and Vancouver. I loved these images of dancer Karin Kain, Queen Elizabeth II and Chairman Mao. They really were quite magnificent to see.

Karen Kain Queen Elizabeth Chairman Mao

These last images show Andy Warhol’s iconic image of Marilyn Monroe boldly illuminated on Lite-Brite units. The display showed 12 units, and I’ve include a close up of one. I knew there was a reason I kept our Lite-Brite! As an artist I appreciate the creative use of an inexpensive children’s toy. If you want some digital fun with Lite-Brite, check this out.

multi Marilyns Marilyn Monroe

The exhibit of sports figures now travels to the United States. Calgary was the only Canadian stop.

7 thoughts

  1. Isn’t it amazing when looking at that last picture that MM is instantly recognisable from a few well placed dots [or whatever they were ] 😀
    Paring down to the essentials works . Glad you made it Terri !


  2. I love seeing the Lite Brites used in this way. When I was little, I used to have “art shows” with mine – I’d create a piece, then turn out the lights and invite everyone in the house to come to my show. As I look back on this, it’s no wonder I ended up studying Art History in college and curating a few shows while I was there!


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