Sports & Art

A Match Made in Dallas

By Abby Deering
Photos courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys Art Collection

Sports fans and art aficionados are finding common ground in North Texas where the worlds of art and sports have been brought together in ground-breaking fashion.

The Dallas Cowboys Art Collection is a world-class collection championing the most exciting established and emerging contemporary artists. Launched in 2009 with 14 commissioned artworks, today, the collection has grown to exhibit 79 artworks by 53 artists, with 18 falling under the category of site-specific commissions.

The Dallas Cowboys Art Collection was conceived, launched, and funded by Cowboys owners Gene and Jerry Jones, but Gene is the true curatorial force behind the collection. “Gene is the backbone of our family,” Jerry says. “Her influence guides and inspires all of us.”

These works, on display at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington and at the franchise’s brand new, $1.5 billion, 91-acre complex at The Star in Frisco, represent an unparalleled undertaking and are part of the Jones family commitment to transforming the way the world experiences sports and entertainment.

“Volume (Frisco),” a volumetric LED art display piece by artist Leo Villareal.

“Win,” (2009) by artist Mel Bochner.

To choose the works, Gene has assembled an art council that includes Michael Auping, Chief Curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth; Charlie Wylie, former Lupe Murchison   Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art; noted Dallas collectors Gayle Stoffel and Howard Rachofksy; Melissa Meeks, Director, Two by Two for Aids and Art (Meeks also happens to be Gene Jones’ niece) and Charlotte Anderson, Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President (Jerry and Gene’s daughter). Mary Zlot of the art advisory firm Zlot Buell + Associates also provides counsel on the program.

“The Dallas Cowboys Art Collection is an amazing joining of forces that has allowed literally millions of people the world over to experience contemporary art, something they might not come into contact with in their daily lives,” Wylie says.

For the Jones family and their advisory art council, the link between the arts and sports is obvious. A curatorial statement for the collection reads: “Fans talk about games with great passion. Viewers talk about art with equal passion. Both sports and art bring together people from all walks of life to discuss what we cherish, in ways that stir our deepest beliefs and excite us to share them. We define ourselves, as individuals and groups, by articulating in public what we value in private.” Gene adds, “The Dallas Cowboys Art Collection brings this dialogue between art and sport into the modern day. We’re making it possible for some of the world’s leading contemporary artists to create work on a scale unimaginable anywhere else, and we’re connecting new audiences with their work.”

Crystalline Structure #2,” (2013) by artist Alyson Shotz. (Photo credit: Tom Fox)

Some of the most beloved works in the collection include Ellsworth Kelly’s White Form, a white geometric form made of painted aluminum acquired for $2.3 million at a charity auction for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, and the Dallas Museum of Art; Sky Mirror, a massive reflective outdoor sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor; Jenny Holzer’s For Cowboys, an LED light and sound work on the world’s largest center-hung video board; Olafur  Eliasson’s Moving stars takes time, a contemplative indoor hanging sculptural installation; and Jim Campbell’s LED lightbulb commission Exploded View (Cowboys). Other artists whose work is represented in the collection include: Gary Simmons, Doug Aitken, Garth Weiser, Franz Ackermann, Alyson Shotz, and Teresita Fernandez, among others.

The collection will continue to evolve as the Dallas Cowboys headquarters moves into its new location at The Star in Frisco, Texas. A central atrium in the complex features a 40-foot-tall light installation by Leo Villareal. This piece, titled Volume, is visible from the highway and contains 19,200 lights embedded in 160 metal rods. Additionally, installation was recently completed on Huddle, a large outdoor sculpture standing at the entrance to The Star. Huddle features nine oversize figures rising from the earth with heads touching and arms linked in a fashion reminiscent of the collaboration and teamwork found on the field. It was created exclusively for The Cowboys by renowned artist Thomas Friedman, who sculpted the figures from disposable roasting pans and then cast them in stainless steel.

The collection is still evolving as the Dallas Cowboys headquarters continues to settle into its new location at The Star in Frisco, Texas.


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