HOOPS at the National Building Museum

General / People / Places / December 19, 2018

The timing couldn’t be better.

Just in time for “March Madness,” the National Building Museum will open an exhibition called “HOOPS.”

It will display 50-60 photographs by North Carolina-based Bill Bamberger, each of them depicting empty basketball courts from around the world – including the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, South Africa, Namibia and Rwanda.

In a way, they’re landscapes – of public spaces or people’s yards, front and back.

“They’re portraits of place – and they make you think: ‘So who’s playing here?’” says curator Chrysanthe Broikos. “Your brain is injecting yourself onto that canvas.”

And basketball has universal appeal. It’s a subject matter that almost anyone can relate to, unlike soccer, baseball or football where a number of people are required to make a game.

“With basketball, it can just be you, a ball and a court – it’s a low-entry sport,” she says. “It’s not expensive and those public courts are in many places.”

But wait a minute: Empty basketball courts for a building museum exhibition? What’s up with that?

“The sports field makes people understand that everything is design, with decisions about how spaces are made,” she says. “It’s a way for the Building Museum to communicate that to the public – that it’s not just about buildings and what’s inside, but about the spaces in between.”

Besides, Bamberger’s photographs are gorgeous art, in and of themselves. “There’s a diversity of places,” she says. “It’s a colorful, different and accessible subject matter.”

And as noted, it’s timely too. The show opens on March 9 – three days before the ACC Tournament kicks off, and 10 days before the NCAA Tournament launches coast-to-coast.

And if you’re too busy watching the games, relax. It doesn’t close until January 5, 2020.

All photos by Bill Bamberger

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Michael Welton




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