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Shaquille O’Neal, art curator?

November 18, 2009 | 11:30 am

Shaq Basketball great Shaquille O'Neal could never be accused of sticking to one thing. The 7-foot-1-inch athlete has dabbled in acting (remember "Kazaam"?), recorded a handful of rap albums and earned a master's in business administration.

Now, O'Neal is branching out yet again by taking on the art world. The Cleveland Cavaliers athlete is curating a gallery show in New York that is appropriately titled "Size DOES Matter," which explores the idea of scale in contemporary art, according to a Bloomberg report.

The show is scheduled to open in February at New York’s Flag Art Foundation, an exhibition space in the Chelsea neighborhood.

“It was a little harder than I thought it would be," O'Neal told Bloomberg. "When you think about what each of the artists put into their work, what they are expressing and want to share with the world, you feel bad about having to narrow it down.” 

"Size DOES Matter" will feature 52 works by 39 artists, including five special commissions. One of the featured pieces will be the large-scale sculpture "Big Man" by Ron Mueck, pictured above. The show will also feature work by Jeff Koons, Chuck Close and Tim Hawkinson.

One has to wonder how much "curating" O'Neal actually did for the exhibition and whether the whole thing is just a savvy publicity stunt for the Flag Art Foundation, whose main backer is collector Glenn Fuhrman, a co-managing partner of MSD Capital LP.

Perhaps just as interesting as Shaq's involvement with the exhibition is the participation of disgraced memoirist James Frey, who is writing an essay for the show's catalog. Frey, who has admitted that he fabricated parts of his bestselling memoir "A Million Little Pieces," is a collector and has written about contemporary art for various publications.

-- David Ng

Photo: "Big Man" by Ron Mueck will be part of a new exhibition curated by Shaquille O'Neal. Credit: Lee Stalsworth / via Bloomberg 

Comments () | Archives (5)

Nobody puts Big Baby in a corner.

If you aren't a celebrity in this country, do you actually exist?

What makes this so repugnant is the use of the caption "Size Does Matter" anywhere within 50 feet of a giant naked man repugnant in and of itself. What an unfortunate choice.

Does the Hirshhorn make a habit of loaning scholarly works of art to sports athletes with such insecurities?

"One has to wonder how much "curating" O'Neal actually did for the exhibition and whether the whole thing is just a savvy publicity stunt for the Flag Art Foundation, whose main backer is collector Glenn Fuhrman, a co-managing partner of MSD Capital LP." - Does it matter?

If Art is what we care about what difference does it make whether this is a publicity stunt or not? If major celebrities are going to chime in on the art world and it increases the reach of artists doesn't the end justify the means?

Size most certainly does matter, just not in art. Are many of the huge absurd monstrosities of today better than hundreds of small works by Paul Klee just because they are bigger? NO! They are like Camaros and Firebirds, Suburbans and all Dodge vehicles, making up for s sense of inadequacy, Napoleon strikes again.

Scale and passion matter, truth and constructive self criticism, all things missing from todays Academy, the Salon of self indulgences. Catering to the whims of those in power, serving the status quo, and never truly questioning anything real, in service to their masters. Revolutionary language twisted into brown nosing careerism. With not a single thought, beyond money, in questioning, why?

Socrates would recognize the Sohists of his time, Yeshua the Pharisees. For constructive questioning and seeking truth are not todays goals, or seen as virtues. Career and ones own desires all that count, where sacrifice, love, and paying ones dues are seen as irrelevant, and burdens.

art collegia delenda est


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