Encounter Football and Art this Homecoming Weekend
“Looking back with hindsight,” says James Wood, former director of the Art Institute of Chicago and then President of the Getty Trust, until his death in 2010, “I would emphasize that contact sports probably taught me as much about how to run an institution as anything else.” Wood was quoted in the November 1989 issue of Art & Auction magazine in the cover story, The Williams Art Mafia. As it turned out, a number of Williams College graduates, who went on to become prominent figures in the art world, started out as fraternity bothers and teammates at Williams in the 1960s. When these football players went back to their dorms at night, they were talking about pictures, due to the inspiration of their art history professors.
This connection between football, art, and inspiration is again present at the Williams College Museum of Art, where head football coach Aaron Kelton is the guest curator of the exhibition, A View from the Coach’s Seat, in The Gallery of Crossed Destinies. Coach Kelton uses inspirational quotations to motivate his players, and he brought that approach to the exhibition by pairing quotes with particular artworks. Kelton explains, “I tried to look at the artwork as I do different parts of my profession and how these different parts influence me daily. As a coach, I thought of how the art reflected my thoughts about athletics and how that perspective could influence and motivate the average person or fan. I believe that sharing my view of the exhibit as a guest curator will give fans a better understanding of a coach’s ability to lead and bring athletes to reach their full potential.” Once again, Williams football players are able to take the inspiration of art back with them to their dorms. The Gallery of Crossed Destinies exhibition will be on display through Sunday, December 4, 2011. The museum is free and open to the public, 10am–5pm Tuesday–Saturday and 1pm–5pm on Sunday.