When Dallas Cowboys fans turned up to their team’s new stadium for the 2009–10 pre-season, they were greeted with a collection of Texas-size, blue-chip contemporary art. Team owner Jerry Jones and his family acquired 42 large-scale works and commissioned 16 new, site-specific pieces for the arena from the likes of Trenton Doyle Hancock, Teresita Fernández, Mel Bochner, and Jenny Holzer.
For her unconventional commission, Holzer adapted her trademark Truisms text pieces for AT&T Stadium’s massive video screen — the fourth-largest in the world — which periodically displays those pithy phrases, including “A POSITIVE ATTITUDE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD” and “BOREDOM MAKES YOU DO CRAZY THINGS.” But you don’t have to travel to Arlington to enjoy the artist’s unique type of team spirit: the official Dallas Cowboys store offers a whole line of Holzer-branded T-shirts and caps, and they’ve all recently been marked down!
Apparently the only other artist in the Dallas Cowboys Art Collection whose commission included merchandizing is Bochner; his ecstatically peppy mural “Win!” (2009) is available in both T-shirt and (severely abbreviated) cap form — and both items, like the Holzer swag, are now severely discounted. Maybe Cowboys fans just aren’t that interested in having things like “EXPIRING FOR LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL BUT STUPID” emblazoned on their game-day T-shirts. Or maybe turning monumental and bitingly sarcastic works of site-specific art into cheery merchandize sacks them of their power.
Holzer on shirts is nothing new; I have a “Protect me from what I want” shirt. But sold by a football team?
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