Thirty-five years ago in Austin, Texas, Willie Nelson forged an historic accord between the hippies and the rednecks. Today, some 200 miles to the north in Arlington, Texas, Gene and Jerry Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboys, are forming a similar pact, this time between the artists and the jocks. The Jones family has kicked off an ongoing initiative to commission contemporary artists to create site-specific installations for the newly completed Cowboys Stadium. The initial blitz of 14 works includes pieces by such art world luminaries as Franz Ackermann, Annette Lawrence, and Oafur Eliasson. See more after the jump.
“From top to bottom, we’re taking a whole new approach to what a national sports arena can be,” said Jerry Jones in a press release. “Cowboys Stadium isn’t just a place to go and see a game or a concert, it’s an experience you share with your family and your community. That will include things that a lot of people wouldn’t anticipate seeing at a stadium—like contemporary art. Football is full of the unexpected and the spontaneous—it can make two strangers into friends. Art has the power to do that too, to get people talking, and looking, and interacting. It’s not just about what you see on the field or on the wall, it’s about creating exciting experiences.”
The works will be installed in the areas of the stadium that have the highest concentration of pedestrian traffic, including the four principal entries and the two monumental staircases. The artists have already begun the installation process, and most of the initial 14 pieces will be in place in time for the first regular season game against the New York Giants on September 20. “We’re breathing new life into a tradition that extends back to the Greeks and Romans, who integrated the art of their time in stadiums where the best athletes gathered to compete,” said Gene Jones. “The art program at Cowboys Stadium brings this dialogue between art and sport into the modern day. We’re making it possible for some of the worlds leading contemporary artists to create work on scale unimaginable anywhere else and we’re connecting new audiences with their work.”
An advisory council helped the Jones family select the artists and works for the program. The members of this committee included Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth and Charlie Wylie, Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art. Other artists selected include Ricci Albenda, Mel Bochner, Doug Aitken, Teresita Fernandez, Terry Haggerty, Dave Muller, and Lawrence Weiner. As part of the initiative the Jones family will also be creating an art education program, which will include art tours of the stadium.