how sports became


The perfect last second catch in the end zone or the daring arc of the 3-point shot made at half-courtmay not have much practical purpose outside the arena, but certain moments that steal our breath away, that catch our eye and make us stop and stare—these moments change us and become works of art themselves.

In the book IN PRAISE OF ATHLETIC BEAUTY, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Professor of literature at Stanford University, laments that much of the popular perspectives of sports tend to be socially patronizing anddismissive of the fans who have fallen for modern-day version of “bread and circuses.”

“Something does not need to have purpose in order to be beautiful,” says Gumbrect. “Whatever we findbeautiful looks as if it had purpose.”

At the Provo Library, The Art of Sport Exhibit (on display now in the Attic) celebrates the intriguing intersection between art and sports while reminding us that sports are made beautiful by us.

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Athletes are not just people who play games well, they are those who can accomplish the impossible. When we watch sports, we don’t just see the game; we see a story. We see the athlete; poised and self-disciplined, the body; pushed to its limits, the personality; where perfection is the only possibleoutcome. In athletes, we see something more than humanity: we see the possibility of greatness.

Art and sports are interdependent. They inspire each other because since ancient times, we’ve found that merely telling the stories of athletes isn’t enough. The human form demands more than description; it demands depiction. This is why sports seems to live both in the arena and in our backyards.

Noticing art in sports requires more than just what we look at, it requires us to see. More specifically the art of sport asks us to see ourselves, our possibility for greatness.

The Art of Sport Exhibit
On display June 27 - August 27
4th floor, Academy Wing

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday: 5-9 PM
Saturday: 1-6 PM
Other hours by appointment: 801-852-7685

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