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Art of the game


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 25, 2001

For those who like a little art with their sports, there are football-themed exhibits on both sides of the bay.

The Tampa Museum of Art's exhibit features 48 images culled from the book, Best Shots: The Greatest NFL Photographers of the Century.

The dramatic pictures by Al Messerschmidt, Peter Read Miller and Tony Tomsic, among others, freeze moments that would be lost in the action of the game.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp, who later went on to fame in politics, leaps high into the air to make a catch. Detroit Lion Barry Sanders skids to a halt, caught the second before bolting to avoid the offensive line. Muhsin Muhammad, currently with the Carolina Panthers, mimics a low-flying superhero as he glides into the end zone to score

The exhibit also features the film Best Shots: A Century of Sound and Fury. Armchair quarterbacks will enjoy the action and reactions of the players, coaches and staff on and off the sidelines.

Why is an art museum putting on this show?

"We feel that this show helps us join in with the many Super Bowl activities happening in Tampa Bay . . . It reaches a whole new group of individuals who might not otherwise come to the museum," said Lani Czyzewski, spokeswoman for the museum.

At St. Petersburg's Ambiance Galleries, not only football but also baseball, golf, tennis and boxing line the walls at "Sports Art," a mixed media show that includes work from a variety of local and national artists.

Local artist Ludner Confident's oil painting, Top Spin and Cross Court, depicts two abstract figures playing tennis. Jack Barrett, from St. Petersburg, shows off his sports prowess with his action-packed charcoal drawing Ty Cobbs Plows Into Third.

Andy Jerinko lends works from his book The Game We Left Behind: Baseball Portraits 1946 -- 1960. The set of 28 paintings shows members of the St. Louis Cardinals in a historical study of the baseball team.

"If you take a close look at his paintings you notice the hats and uniforms change to reflect the times each man played," said Susanne Williams, co-owner of Ambiance.

Ron Stark, whose father Bruce Stark's sports caricatures were published in the Daily News, shows a graphite of golfer Sam Sneed. Stark supplied the TOPPS Trading Card Company with original artwork.

If you go

"Best Shots: Great Moments in NFL Photography," at the Tampa Museum of Art, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, through Feb. 4. Hours: Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thurs., 10 a.m. -- 8 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors over 62, and $3 students and children over 6. Information: (813) 274-8130.

"Sports Art" at Ambiance Galleries, 1535 M.L. King (Ninth) St. N, St. Petersburg, through Feb. 3. Hours: Tues.-Fri, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission. Information: (727) 821-8331.

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