It’s always fascinating, if rare, when art and sports collide. Last night it occurred in a wildly committed play by play reenactment of the Super Bowl while it was being viewed on TV, in an old synagogue-turned-artists studio in East Williamsburg.
In their 100-year-old defunct synagogue, artists Matt Freedman and Jude Taillichet installed a mini-turf field stretching about 60 ft, with to-scale yard lines, goal posts scoreboard and all the leading characters of a super bowl—coaches, referees, owners, cheerleaders, sports commentators, halftime entertainment. All this with a backdrop of vaulted stained glass windows.
While watching the game on a TV set at the 50 yard line, Freedman who played all the positions of the New Orleans Saints, and Tallichet playing the entire Colts team recreated every move as it was happening, or shortly after. Artistic license reigned. It became a participatory event for the 50 people attending. I was recruited to replace a lineman during the third quarter
What was planned out in high concept with attention to all the details of a football game and also as a tribute Tallichet and Freedman’s 25 years together as a “team” became an improvised, spontaneous and at times chaotic happening. My favorite moment in The Gog, as they affectionately call the old synagogue, was when The Whom, a fake band, played at halftime. Although the game was starting on TV, (our) Colt & Saint were instructed to get back on the field, but The Whom is still rocking out. Colt Tallichet begins doing the twist, Saint Matt starts dancing and our crowd goes berserk and everyone is on the field dancing in exalted frenzy!
The allusions to the real and unreal made for strange illusion. A fellow fan documenting the event commented, “It’s weird how real it looks in photographs.” The game performance was streamed over the Internet with approximately 300 people logging on! Artifacts of this happening, the packing tape footballs, the uniforms made with electrical tape, alien head mascot, photographs and video, etc. will go on view in March at Mt. Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Conceptual performance, anniversary party or temple gathering—best damn Super Bowl bash I’ve ever been to!