National Art Museum of Sport marks 50th year with ‘Landmarks’ exhibit
The Landmarks in 50 Year of Sport Art exhibit at the National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) celebrates the founding in 1959 of the museum, located in University Place Conference Center and Hotel at IUPUI. The exhibit will run through Dec. 15.
New additions to the collection during its anniversary year are featured as well as "landmarks" that trace NAMOS' history from its first exhibit in New York in 1962 of loaned work to its first gallery that opened in 1968 in New York's Madison Square Garden, from a move to the University of New Haven (Conn.) in 1979 to arrival in Indianapolis in 1990 and on to University Place in 1994.
NAMOS was founded in New York City by the late Germain Glidden, a portrait artist and champion squash player. Its home has been University Place since 1994 and the collection has grown to include approximately 900 paintings, sculptures and works on paper depicting sports.
Anniversary year gifts include a watercolor of swimmer Michael Phelps by James Fiorentino; sculpture groupings of polo, football and basketball by the late George Gach, and a carved mahogany sculpture by Benjamin Blackburn of Oscar Robertson whose basketball career started in the neighborhood of University Place.
• James Fiorentino is a 32-year-old New Jersey specialist in sport art who has been represented in the National Art Museum of Sport since soon after he graduated from college. In addition to his new painting of the swimmer who set Olympic records in Beijing with eight gold medals, his work in NAMOS includes paintings of Peyton Manning, Jeff Gordon and the 1978 horse4 racing Triple Crown.
• The late George Gach was the Hungarian-born son of sculptor and the father and grandfather of artists. During most of his career he lived and worked in New York. The three bronzes given to NAMOS by his grandson are "Last Effort," a basketball grouping; "Facemask Penalty," football, and "Two Polo Players."
• Since returning to his native Illinois from New York City after 9/11, Benjamin Blackburn has honed his skills as a wood carver creating wood sculpture and bas relief panels and baseball bats commemorating sports. He has had exhibits as far flung as Japan and Italy.
The National Art Museum of Sport is open week days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The address is 850 West Michigan St., Indianapolis. For weekend hours and to arrange group tours, call 317-274-3527.