Harlem Globetrotter Maxwell Pearce will make his professional artistic debut during Art Basel/Miami Art Week. His inaugural exhibition, “The Art of an Athlete,” showcases how athletes have used their platforms and celebrity to raise awareness.
Pearce described the collection as a multi-generational look at “different forms of protest” through mixed athletic materials.
“My work explores the multitudes of ideas within Black athleticism and celebrates athletes’ individual ability to do more than dribble, shoot, and score. It honors the literal ties that connect athletes across generations and binds them to public, collective memory”, commented artist Max Pearce.
Reportedly Pearce was motivated to action after two anchors at a Birmingham TV station threw fruit at him during an interview. During an “Good Day Alabama interview,” two white anchors tossed fruit at Pearce. According to Pearce, he was caught off guard and was not expecting to have fruit tossed at him.
While Globetrotters are known for their showmanship and fun antics, Pearce noted the racist history of throwing bananas and fruit at Black athletes. He previously said it “diminish[ed] the amazing Hall of Fame legacy of the Harlem Globetrotters to that of a circus.”
“Throwing a banana at a black man and passing it off as entertainment displays an unacceptable lack of awareness,” Pearce said. “Quite frankly, I’m having a very difficult time understanding how someone could work in the media field and not know this is offensive.”
In a subsequent interview, Pearce told journalist Jawan Strader that he wanted to transform the moment into a lesson for others.
“This collection in particular, is very intentional,” Pearce said. “My whole goal with this particular experience was to make it a teachable moment.”
“The Art of An Athlete” exhibit will open to the public on Friday, Dec. 2, at the N’Namdi Contemporary Fine Art, located at 6505 NE 2nd Ave., in Miami, Florida. The collection is available for public viewing on Dec. 2nd, from 6 -10 p.m. and Dec. 3-4, from noon until 10 pm.
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