Parker’s Box is delighted to announce Tim Laun’s third solo show at the gallery, featuring a monumental new work.
Sometime in early January it dawned on us that if the Green Bay Packers made it to the Superbowl, the game would take place two days after the opening reception of Tim Laun’s solo exhibition, titled Majik, the nickname of Don Majkowski, the Packers’ former quarter-back. But after the New York Giants beat the Packers to clinch the NFC Championship, we were left to concentrate on Tim Laun’s art, which in the end is the way it should be. Followers of the artist will know that his primary subject has been the Green Bay Packers, and more specifically the exceptional career of Brett Favre, the player who has been their “permanent” quarter-back since 1992.
The real interest of Tim Laun’s works lies in their conceptual premises, and even their strong relation to art history, rather than (if you’ll forgive the pun) any cheesy outpouring of emotional fandom. Of course, there are artists who exist specifically to cater to that demand, like the “world famous sports artist, Andrew Goralski” who co-signs his paintings with the sports stars he portrays (such as Brett Favre), thereby giving his works additional value!! When the subject of such artworks is intended to invest them with more intrinsic value than any other aspect of them, they clearly have more to do with the subject than with art. Like certain examples of various other forms of art (political, graphic, documentary, etc.) they perhaps at some point cease to be art altogether. In the case of Tim Laun’s choice of subject, however, it specifically allows him to explore questions of art and it’s interface with society and the spectator, rather than merely providing a means to market a famous subject, like those forms of “sports art” alluded to. Indeed, Tim Laun’s practice and preoccupations may mean that it will ultimately be difficult to label him a “sports artist” of any kind.
Tim Laun’s family has held season tickets for the same seats at Lambeau Field (the Green Bay Packers’ home) since the 1950’s, so his choice of a subject so inextricably linked to his life was in many ways as unquestionable as those of, say, Andy Warhol or Edouard Manet. Indeed, the principal work on view in Laun’s exhibition at Parker’s Box: Don Majkowski (Sunday, September 20, 1992), was developed partly in tandem with Laun’s study of Manet’s painting, The Dead Toreador, 1862-64. Manet, of course was a groundbreaking social realist, and his painting portrays a figure in many ways the 19th century equivalent of the contemporary sports star- a social phenomenon of particular interest to Tim Laun. Manet’s work also benefited from its alignment with the historical tradition of “Fallen Hero” paintings, and Laun’s piece: Don Majkowski (Sunday, September 20, 1992), clearly positions itself in relation to this. The work, a monumental 33ft long, dot-printed, photographic image, depicts the quarter-back, lying injured on the field, just before being replaced by the young Brett Favre, who has played quarter-back in every Packers game since, during an unprecedented unbroken career spanning sixteen seasons. Thus, the image of the huge fallen figure, looking almost like a helmeted Greek soldier lying on the field of battle, represents the passing of one era and the start of another. At the same time, the billboard-sized image also references the mechanisms of marketing, used both in sports and in the cult of the individual. Such questions have preoccupied the artist across his practice, whether in videos, lithographs, photographic works, or his ongoing Favre Era Cyclorama installation project.
Tim Laun’s work was most recently seen in his solo exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin; The Arsenal Gallery, Central Park, New York; University of Florida Gallery, Gainesville; Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens…