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Hoop Dreams: Basketball and Contemporary Art

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A multibillion-dollar global industry that began as a recreational activity more than a century ago, the game of basketball is deeply rooted in our society and culture. Playing or watching the sport invokes intangible ideas and feelings—beauty, excitement, hope, triumph, joy, pain, defeat—experiences that define what it means to be human.

Artists have drawn creative inspiration from the personas and culture of the game for decades, and many in recent years have used them as a topic or metaphor to interrogate today’s pressing social issues, from dismantling racial stereotypes and traditional gender roles to revealing systemic economic inequities, the effects of global commodification, and more. Featuring paintings, sculpture, photography, video, and installation works created by some of the most significant living artists in the United States, Hoop Dreams demonstrates how tightly intertwined contemporary art and life are with the art of the game.

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Brandon Donahue, Basketball Bloom (Hair Checks), 2021, Searched for and collected basketballs and shoestring, 39 x 39 x 6 inches, Private Collection