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The ESPY Collection

May 31 - October 12, 2008

Rick Champman, Muhammad Ali, Berrien Springs, Michigan, 2002, gelatin silver print, 14 x 14 in., courtesy of the artist and The ESPY Collection, New York.
In conjunction with the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art will present two complimentary sports-related exhibitions. The first—focusing on sports in America from the late 19th century to the 1980s—is All-Stars: American Sporting Prints from the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams.

The second sports-related exhibition on view is The ESPY Collection. In 2001, photographer Rick Chapman was asked by ESPN to create a series of portraits of select recipients of the ESPY Awards.  What resulted was a riveting collection of 25 photographs of some of the most fascinating sports figures in the country.  Ranging from traditional portraiture to innovative and enlightening works that capture the sitter's personality, this limited edition series of black-and-white photographs allows viewers to see many of their favorite sports heroes in a completely new light.  From Muhammad Ali to John Elway and Jack Nicklaus, a broad range of sports figures will be included in this exhibition. 

While fairly intimate in scale and proximity to the sitter, these works nonetheless possess a monumentality and force that extends well beyond their size.  In Rick Chapman's images, these larger-than-life heroes become approachable and human, and allow a completely new perspective of someone the viewer thought he already knew.  In 2006, Chapman was again asked by ESPN to augment his first set and the additional 15 portraits bring the total collection to 40.

Born in Bay Village, Ohio, in 1966, Rick Chapman studied English Literature and Photography at the University of Michigan.  He began to show in group and solo exhibitions in the early 1990s and, since 2002, has also been serving as the Curator of Photography at the Bolinas Museum in Marin County, California.  Represented by galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, Chapman also received commissions from Chevrolet, the National Football League, and ABC.  His work is held in many collections throughout the United States including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the collection of Sir Elton John, one of the leading private collections of photography in the United States.

This exhibition is made possible in part by 1600 ESPN Sports Radio, The Skogman Companies, The Momentum Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Hall Bicycle Company, Clifton Gunderson, Phelan's Interiors, Scheels, Cedar Rapids Marriott, and Sam's Club.


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