Bull in the Ring

On Wednesday night, I attended the opening performance for Hard Targets—Shaun El C. Leonardo’s Bull in the Ring (which he discussed here earlier this week). I have mixed feelings about football—the brutality bothers me but the sportsmanship has, and I do not exaggerate, brought me to tears (what can I say? Seeing offensive linemen sacrificing their bodies for the greater good really struck me).

The performance did little to soothe, or sway, me. Leonardo may have drawn chalk lines onto the grass at LACMA, but the fact that this was not a football field was abundantly clear. When removed from the context of an actual practice or game, the brutality—the absurdity—was all the more striking. On the other hand, each time he got back up after being knocked down, I couldn’t help but think “that guy has heart.” I’m not sure what Leonardo intended for me to feel, but quite frankly, I’m just as confused as ever. And football season has only just begun.

And just one more quick note to add now that I’ve seen the clip—the thing that actually made me the most uncomfortable was hearing the applause. Although I was clapping right along with everyone else, in retrospect, I’m not sure what or who I was clapping for. Was it Leonardo’s willingness to put himself through physical trauma for art, the football players for exposing themselves to the judgment of onlookers, or the sheer brutality of it all?

Brooke Fruchtman

One Response to Bull in the Ring

  1. [...] reading/viewing: LACMA’s blog, Unframed, has video of Leonardo’s pummeling. « The Digest. [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,089 other followers

%d bloggers like this: