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. James Naismith, the physical education teacher who invented the game in 1891, could never have imagined how his basic 13-rule game would grow into an international sensation and cultural agent. Considered the fastest-growing sport in the world, basketball now has hundreds of millions of players and fans across the globe and more than 200 professional leagues. Basketball is more than just a game, however; it is also a vast cultural universe—fashion, music, film and electronic media, dance, art, and design—where pressing social issues of the times are played out on a world stage.
While the athleticism of the game, its personalities, and the widespread culture of basketball have served as creative inspiration for artists for decades, there is a new generation of artists approaching the topic from diverse perspectives. Many of these artists grew up immersed in basketball culture, and several even played the game at a collegiate level. Hoop Dreams: Basketball and Contemporary Art brings together a roster of emerging and mid-career artists who, as fans, players, or just cultural observers, are adding to the dialogue about basketball’s impact today.
Nina Chanel Abney, Alvin Armstrong, Holly Bass, Brandon Donahue, Kota Ezawa, Treva Holmes, Marlon Forrester, David Huffman, Rashid Johnson, Jeremy John Kaplan, Ari Marcopoulos, Jason Middlebrook, Cheryl Pope, Ashley Teamer, Hank Willis Thomas, Michael C. Thorpe, Jake Troyli, and Nari Ward