As the National Basketball Association and the American Art Exhibition celebrate their 50th anniversary, the artists behind them have shared their personal stories of how the two events have shaped their work.
Below, artist Jason Kessel and artist Matt LeBlanc share their recollections of the two projects, the art show and the exhibition.AP Photos/David Goldman”It’s just a way for me to connect with the people that I’ve always been in my life and my friends.
To just be able to sit down with them and just have a conversation with them, just kind of say, ‘hey, we’re friends,’ and be able for a moment to be honest and talk about what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Art exhibit at National Basketball Hall of Fame in ClevelandAP Photos//David GoldmanKessel and LeBlanchon first met in 2004.
Their first collaboration was the installation of a portrait of the late Paul Newman, which opened the exhibition at the National Football Hall of Famer’s Cleveland home.
“It was a beautiful, big painting, and I was like, ‘Hey, what’s up with that?’
So I got on Skype with him and we were chatting and he was like ‘What’s this?'”
“And I’m like, man, that’s my favorite artist.
He was just like, dude, I just have to hang this picture on my wall.
So I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, I love it.
I love this, man.'”
Kessel said that Newman’s work has influenced him.
“I always thought about him, like, it’s kind of like I’m a big Paul Newman fan, because he’s one of the greatest artists in history.
And I was just thinking about it, and it was just the perfect moment for me.”
The installation at the Hall of the Fame is now in its 75th year and the National Hockey Hall of Hockey Hall-of-Fame, which is located in Chicago, is the largest museum of its kind in the United States.
“I think it’s just the best thing for the country to have in the country, and to have the National Arts Exhibit be so close to the National Ice Hockey Hall [of Fame], because they’ve always had a very close relationship, and they’ve both been so close in their career,” Kessel said.
“They’re both so iconic, so revered, so influential, and just so powerful.
I mean, I feel like we have an incredible connection, and that’s just what we have to celebrate.”
Art exhibition at American Art Expo at the Louvre in ParisGetty Images”I would say the exhibition was my first introduction to art in the art world.
I didn’t know how to really express myself and what I wanted to express.
I just was trying to get out there and express myself.
And then, after that exhibition, I was looking for a place to be, and what we’ve found is a place where people can come to get that, and for that to be a part of the American experience.
The exhibition is a great place to do that.
It’s something to be proud of and celebrate.”
LeBlanc said that he felt the exhibition opened his eyes to the power of art in a different way than the other exhibitions.
“There’s no one that’s ever come to the American art exhibition and gone in there and done it like I have,” LeBlanche said.
“[It’s] a very personal place.
I know that the people there, they’ve had a really good experience, and the artwork is so good.
They have great experience, they’re going to want to see more.”
Kessel, who worked on the exhibition, said that the art piece “was so iconic that it was kind of the focal point.”
The American Art Exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Getty ImagesIn a follow-up interview with The Associated Press, LeBlanches said that, although the work in the exhibition is “pretty, very traditional,” it has inspired him to take a more modern approach.
“What I really wanted to do was to make an art that was more contemporary,” Leblanc said.
LeBlances work is “not necessarily a modern painting.
I wanted something that was like a painting that I would have done a couple of years ago, but with more contemporary imagery.
That was the theme for the exhibition.”
Leblanc’s installation is also now on display at the American Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.