Arena: The Art of Hockey is a multi-part exhibition project that combines international contemporary art with Canadian art
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Rebecca Britain: To some sports are more than just a past time, they are religion. Who would have thought that to others they’d be an art? Hi! I’m Rebecca welcome to wachmojo.com and today, we’re speaking with Ray Cronin Curator of Arena: The art of Hockey. What would you say that hockey and art have in common?
Ray Cronin: One thing they have in common is that when an artist or a hockey player is very much at the top of their game they’re better than anyone else is at what they do.
The other thing I think that you can see is that when you don’t know anything about hockey and you go to a game I noticed when I’m taking my 10-year old daughter to games. She enjoys the music. She enjoys the lights. She enjoys the treats that she is bought. The game is almost irrelevant. It's a spectacle for her and the more you learn about hockey, the more you follow the game. The better experience you have and the more you get from it.
Art is the same thing. People who think that they will go an art gallery and they’d attest they don’t understand their seeing. The reality is that you can go in. You can see it on the most basic level of it's beautiful, it's not. It’s interesting, it's not. It’s funny, it's not but the more you look at it, the more you think about it the more you’ll get out of that. So that is something to share.
Rebecca Britain: Historically, do we see this connection between hockey and art?
Ray Cronin: There have always been tons of artists making hockey works. There has always been hockey prints. There have been a lot of portraits, illustrations of games and so on. But in terms of the contemporary art world of more experimental work, work that is really pushing the edge of what we think of as art. Hockey hasn’t been so much of a subject.
Rebecca Britain: What kind of ideas or questions do you think the artist was inspired by when they created these pieces?
Ray Cronin: One of key ones is a notion of fame. There’s a lot of interest in why do we hero worship something. We saw also a lot of complain on the idea of nostalgia and memory, and the spectacle of it. I think that’s another thing. But when you look through around this room, there are very few pieces really that deal with hockey at it sort of most spectacle level like HNL level. It's more hockey as an idea or as a very individual thing. So you have one De coup’s large paintings or figures and goalie masks. She was doing a series of paintings that are all based on Japanese known theatre and for a whim, made a series of goalies. She thought the masks were evocative of character the way that these theatre masks were.
So the really is that there is no right interpretation. There’s no right answer. People will come to these works, they take from what they get, and whatever conversation they end up having with the work is their own.