Tim Laun: Sunday, September 20th, 1992¡Tierra y Libertad! Revolution and the Modernist Mexican Print
August 11, 2007 – November 11, 2007
Tim Laun: Sunday, September 20th, 1992 is an exhibition of new works exploring the long and illustrious career of sports figure Brett Favre, on view in the Museum’s State Street Gallery.
Tim Laun is a New York-based artist whose artworks often comment on the nature of sports and the role sports play in our lives. Originally from Wisconsin, Laun has followed the Packers for nearly 30 years. Tim Laun: Sunday, September 20th, 1992 explores the longevity of Favre’s career for the Packers, as well as the complicated attachment of his fans.
Exhibition in Detail
The exhibition takes its title from a defining moment in the history of the Green Bay Packers. On September 20th, 1992, in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay quarterback Don Majkowski was tackled to the ground and suffered a strained ligament in his ankle. Louisiana-born Brett Favre took over as quarterback. Initially, his novice colors showed through his green and yellow Packers uniform as he fumbled the ball and threw interceptions. Soon, however, Favre was able to take control, leading the Packers to score 24 points and win the game. He has started in every Packers game since. The timing of this exhibition coincides with the 15th anniversary of Sunday, September 20, 1992.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, Don Majkowski: Sunday, September 20th, 1992, is a 36-foot-long work showing the injured Majkowski on the field on that fateful Sunday afternoon. The lone, injured figure on the lush green field signals the end of one era and the beginning of another. Consisting of a grid of multi-colored dots, the Majkowski piece uses billboard-scale and altered digital images to address the aura that attends many sports figures. Like other quarterbacks, Favre plays the leading role in the drama of football; one could say that fans are drawn to Favre as the ancient Greeks were to their gods. He is capable of great things—long, scoring drives, bullet-like passes, and unbelievable comebacks—but he has occasionally been erratic.
Another major work, Model for Cyclorama, consists of 257 diminutive white plaster television sets, each symbolizing a game Favre has played in the NFL (sets will be added as Favre’s 16th NFL season progresses). The idea of the cyclorama plays on Laun’s Wisconsin roots, harking back to the panorama tradition of the state’s German immigrants, but it also highlights the spectacle-nature of football, where one team playing against another is an apt metaphor for war and battle.
The exhibition also includes five lithographs that depict individual players in a game between the Packers and the Tampa Bay Bucaneers in December 2000. The Favre lithograph combines two views of Favre in action, one taken by the artist himself from the stands, and another extracted from what viewers at home might have seen on television. Juxtaposing the homegrown with the nationally packaged, Laun shows that there are multiple ways to see the individual and sports.
Laun says his role in creating Tim Laun: September 20th, 1992 was akin to a curator’s, honing and packaging Favre’s career for the thinking fan, and using the language of art to comment on the phenomenon of Favre’s career and popularity. Using scale, seriality, and juxtaposition, Laun asks the viewer to consider new questions about how we experience, perceive, and adore sports–to be at once believers and critics.
Generous funding for Tim Laun: Sunday, September 20th, 1992 has been provided by J.H. Findorff & Son; Hausmann-Johnson Insurance, Inc.; Associated Bank; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C.; H&M Distributing/Miller Brewing Company; the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club; the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation and the Overture Foundation; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin; and the Art League of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Artworks in the exhibition are not sponsored by or affiliated in any way with the National Football League or the Green Bay Packers.