Super Bowl artwork finds new home at ASU Art Museum
The ASU Art Museum will celebrate Black History Month with a public viewing of the latest Hank Willis Thomas sculpture, on exhibit through March 2024, presented by the National Football League and the artist.
Opportunity (reflection) is a 10-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture commissioned by the NFL for Super Bowl LVII as a continuation of the organization’s commitment to amplifying diverse voices through artistic expression. The sculpture will be displayed at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, during Super Bowl LVII before it arrives at the ASU Art Museum the following week.
The community will have the unique opportunity to interact with the artist’s work and gain insight into the inspirational sculpture that unites athletics, arts and academia.
"This work is about opportunity,” said Thomas. “It's about when a player gets their hand on a ball and decides what to do with it. What opportunities are at the tips of our fingers? What will we do with them? And where will we go? And that's what I think about the present moment."
The viewing, which is open to the public, will be from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the ASU Art Museum on the Tempe campus. The event will feature a screening of a conversation with the artist and Kelvin Beachum, offensive tackle for the Arizona Cardinals and a noted collector of art, moderated by ASU Chief Operating Officer Chris Howard. Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Dean Steven Tepper will provide the opening remarks.
“Arizona State University is dedicated to creating opportunity for talent, creativity and excellence at every level,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Athletic competition and artistic expression are meaningful, character-building pursuits and ASU is proud to host this inspirational artwork.”
Athleticism and art can have overlapping qualities, such as the discipline and practice involved in both and the potential impact on communities. Beachum is playing a part in this effort with his advocacy and art collection.
"The duality of being an athlete and artist can have its sacrifices to press forward and be the best at what you do,” Beachum said. “To be both, you have to find ways to allow the strengths to support one another. Hank is one of the best artists historically, and I want to use this platform with the NFL to shine a light on Hank's work across the globe."
“The ASU Art Museum's vision is to champion art and artists to serve community well-being and social good,” said Miki Garcia, director of the ASU Art Museum. Garcia said that in addition in addition to a longstanding commitment to Latinx and Latin American Art and a new initiative to collect and present contemporary Indigenous art, the museum is launching an initiative to collect and show work by Black artists, aided by a council of esteemed collectors, scholars and business leaders to support acquisitions and programs.
The loan of this work to the ASU Art Museum has been made possible by Beachum, Malcolm Jenkins, Keith Rivers and Malcolm Smith, with additional support from the Arizona Cardinals and the NFL.
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