19th June, 2011 (Montreal)--Time to take in some sumptuous work from across the world. Here we have a sumptuous painting made by special request from fans for Joerg Schmadtke, Sports Director and Manager of the German Soccer-Club Alemannia Aachen. Here is the sumptuous Old Tivoli Stadium available through Loew-Art.
Sumptuous is a very rarely used word when describing a painting, but in this case once is not enough.
14th June, 2011 (Montreal)--The Stadium of the Day feature this Tuesday is an original that I did for my dearest friend's wedding invitation. This is a huge privilege I've extended to the followers of the Stadium Art Movement because the wedding hasn't even taken place yet. You are seeing a preview never before seen, and this is my gift to you. It is in homage to the district of Mile End in Montreal with the Rialto Theatre prominent on stage left. In the distance is the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the Downtown highrises and our beloved Mountain.
Most importantly, and the reason it is included in today's post, on the left rises the leaning tower of the Olympic Stadium. One of my favourite aspects of returning to Montreal is that you can see it rising over the East End of the city like an impatient spatula or fly swatter from miles and miles away. After the '76 Olympiad, the stadium was home to MLB's Montreal Expos until their departure for Washington. In the meantime it is used for important final stages of the Allouettes' CFL championship and major matches involving the Montreal Impact Association Football team. Here is a shot from the interior during the FIFA Under-21 finals (2007) involving Mexico. There were more than 37,000 in attendance. For an UNDER-21 match!
In the meantime, raise a toast to the citizens of Montreal--it has taken them years going without luxuries like flat smooth roads to pay off the capital costs of this deteriorating landmark. What's more, just as with many of its sister arenas built in the era--there are rumblings about tearing it down! Let's hope they keep the tower at least. Clever readers will also notice I've neglected to mention another stadium that ought to be in view: McGill University's Molson Stadium. Don't worry, we will be featuring it in the coming days.
12th June, 2011 (Montreal)--After the overwhelming reaction to our recent Ebbets Field Stadium of the Day feature it makes sense to bring back to life the story of the Polo Grounds, home of that other New York City ball club that sailed away out west in 1957--The NY Giants. The stadium was used for several more years by the New York Titans who then became the NFL's New York Jets, and was finally demolished in 1963.
Like Ebbets Field and Tiger Stadium it had two decks of seating and the usual confusion of trusses and girders propping up the stands to form what some New Yorkers would refer to as 'The Bathtub.' It sat just across the river from the Old Yankee Stadium and was famous for the 'Shot Heard Around the World'--a home run made more amazing by the shape of the outfield scored by Bobby Thompson in the 1951 World Series for the Giants against the Dodgers of Brooklyn. As you look at the gauzy photos from yesteryear you could be forgiven for thinking you' ve been transported into some kind of Dan de Lillo novel, because you have--he uses the first chapter of Underworld to pay homage to this glorious treasure that has been lost to the sands of time. Even it's replacement for the Metropolitans that succeeded the Giants--Shea Stadium--has gone, such is the disposable nature of modern stadium architecture.
June 10, 2011 (Montreal)--Dodgers baseball fans might lament what's happening to their team at present, what with the ownership fiasco and the odd bit of violence that accompanies a visit to their stadium, but spare a thought for their original fans from Brooklyn, who could do nothing but watch their team sail away in the early sixties. It is to their old stadium in Brooklyn that I now draw your attention: Ebbets Field. For our Stadium of the Day feature, take one look at the latinate facade and you see where designers of the latest round of retro parks took their inspiration. Enclosed on all four sides with double-decker stands reminiscent of Tiger Stadium (watch this space for more on that one) and the old time feel straight out of a Don De Lillo novel, Ebbets Field indisputably counts amongst the experts as one of the most important landmarks in stadium design throughout the history of sporting architecture... Seriously.
For today, just imagine yourself settling into one of the rickety old wooden seats under the trusses of ironwork and pre-war gantries, beer in one hand and reaching out to catch a bag of peanuts with the other, then flicking your dime to the vendor as he grabs it with the knack of having done it a million times. That the Dodgers were to leave Brooklyn was one of the contemporary signs that the end of the world was coming at the time, yet here we are still, luckily alive to raise a toast to Ebbets and accept the fact that some things really do come to end: demolish it and they won't come. Here is wikipedia's summation:
Ebbets Field was but one of several historic major league ballparks demolished in the 1960s, but more mythology and nostalgia surrounds the stadium and its demise than possibly any other defunct ballpark.
June 7, 2011 (Montreal)--Here is our STADIUM OF THE DAY feature, which is a sketch I did and just gave away. So I'm calling it Free Stuff Stadium.
I have no idea where the original is, perhaps it was Ken Bates or Adele who I gave it to, but for now we will have to make do with this historical version. Note: People who I meet who haven't seen me since I was a child, they invariably ask "You still doing them stadium drawings then?" In fact, today marks the 37th anniversary of the Movement (that fateful day I first attended a football match as five year old and never stopped from drawing them).
June 6, 2011 (Montreal)--Here is Stamford Bridge in London, original home of the London Athletic Club. Most people are familiar with its current occupants--Chelsea FC. This is a photo of an original I did for a private collector who wishes to remain anonymous in order to keep his insurance premiums to a minimum. Also included are some old shots of the ground before the massive redevelopment. Stamford Bridge is one of the only grounds for which a team was specifically created, after the London Athletic Club folded. Any fan of the team knows how the history of the ground's ownership, construction and political back-room dealings put the entire club through the ringer for almost 30 years of uncertainty. However, Chelsea has always been a big club, attracting over 80,000 for the visit of Arsenal in the 1930s, and averaging over 40,000 these past few seasons. Often the butt of jokes for the massive injection of funds by their fairytale owner, nobody can deny the location of the ground makes it a perfect candidate for STADIUM OF THE DAY here at the Stadium Art Movement. I think people hate Chelsea because it was one of the original parts of London to be gentrified.
My granddad grew up in a Fulham slum around the corner, so my roots drive deep at this point. It must be said, this is the first football stadium this writer ever visited, August 1973, opening day of the season. I was only five and have no memory except at how upset I was that I wasn't allowed to play. "I thought we were supposed to be going to a football match!" I cried. Still, I understand how away fans in the old days would feel--marooned on a sketchy slope, weeds growing from the concrete and a menacing ambush-in-waiting en route to Euston Station--couldn't have been that pleasant. Nowadays the pub across the road serves food with French names and grub you'd have never found in a roadside caff on the way up to Newcastle. Would you rather go back to the days of wading through piss as you pushed through the mob to eat a dodgy 'worm-burger' as the team struggled to beat Rotherham or Shrewsbury and you struggled to get home in one piece? Hands down--no problem--sign me back up. Those days weren't a struggle, they were awesome.
June 5, 2011 (Montreal)-- The Stadium of the Day is Vila Belmiro, home of the world famous team FC Santos where Pele played his entire club career. This ground is one of the original stadiums to inspire the Stadium Art Movement (see our feature on this matter in Now The Good News) with its non-conforming idiosyncrasies. Art Deco meets functional minimalism, yet one side of the ground has three vertical tiers in a total asymmetrical array of classic Latin American design. Even though Pele no longer plays here, it is still an absolute waste of time visiting the vast continent of South America and not checking out this absolute poppet of a stadium.
June 4, 2011 (Montreal)--Today we bring you a lost soul, a stadium created in November 2010 which has since been destroyed in the Great Office Coffee Spill Fiasco of 2011. It is inspired by the great cities of Sao Paulo and New York, with some basic homage to the grand stadium designs of Milan. So taking a break from reality, today's STADIUM OF THE DAY is from the imagination. For sheer SEO reasons, we've decided to name it the 'Hot Sexy Blonde Stadium.' Go on, as we said, just use your imagination.
June 3, 2011 (Montreal)--The STADIUM OF THE DAY is Cardiff Arms Park, home of Rugby Football to all those who follow Wales. Here we have the classic view, which has since been through two more incarnations. Notice how similar the main stand is to the old Highbury, having been built during the same era. Long-associated with the voice of the choirs from her coal valleys, we have the Welsh Nation to thank for establishing a strong tradition of fanatical singing at sporting events. We're it not for the chanting faithful leading the way with their hair-raising rendition of the hymn "Guide me oh thou Great Redeemer" we wouldn't have such wonderful ditties as "Is that all? Is that all? Is that all you take away?" or "What the effin, what the effin, what the eff*ng hell was that?" and the incomparable "You're not singing anymore!" So all stand and rise for the Welsh National anthem as we look upon a postcard scene where there was joy to be shared on the standing-room only terraces, that has since been totally radicalized by modern stadium design.
June 2, 2011 (Montreal)--As of today we will be making regular daily updates on this blog with news of upcoming events and projects involving the Stadium Art Movement. A compilation of stories by Montreal Branch Manager Jonathan Himsworth that first appeared on the excellent site run by the Burgundy Lion will also be archived on our partner blog Now the Good News. We are looking for contributors and collaborators, but for the moment, let's just run our STADIUM OF THE DAY feature: Everton FC, Goodison Park in the late Sixties during the reconstruction of the main stand. All the elements are in place: the church silently witnessing the match in the corner; the elaborate cantilever of the upper tier of the new stand seemingly hovering over the action; the ornate gable of the old stand still intact, almost standing defiant with the crowd still packed in, despite all the upheaval: