Annals of sport/art

Back on December 17th, my posting “Xmas follies 2017: the shirtless men of the season” featured (in #1 and #2 there) pole dancer Domenico Vaccaro, engaging in an activity that is both sport — there are competitions — and art form — performances are scored on aesthetic criteria as well as on the achievement of specific moves. Think of it as ballet with a prop, a prop that allows a dancer to fly suspended in mid-air. Male pole dancers frequently perform shirtless, so they also show off their full bodies, which are aesthetic objects in their own right.

And now, thanks to Kim Darnell, another male pole dancer, the Hungarian Peter Holoda, a great pleasure to watch in action. In a still shot:

(#1) You can watch here a piece of a stunning performance by Holoda to music from the film Schindler’s List, played by Holoda’s frequent collaborator, cellist Tina Guo

Notes. On Tina Guo, from Wikipedia:

Tina Guo (born 28 October 1985 in Shanghai, China) is a Chinese-American cellist and erhuist from Shanghai. She has developed an international multi-faceted performance and recording career as a cellist, electric cellist, erhuist, and composer known for her distinctive sound, videos that showcase her talent against theatrical backdrops and elaborate costumes, mastery in a wide range of genres, and improvisatory style in major motion picture, television, and game scores.

And on the erhu:

The erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, more specifically a spike fiddle, which may also be called a Southern Fiddle, and sometimes known in the Western world as the Chinese violin or a Chinese two-stringed fiddle.

Aesthetic sports, competitive artistry, and sport/art.

The conceptual line between SPORT and ART is not easy to draw, and there are several types of problematic cases. A Wikipedian first take on SPORT:

Sport (British English) or sports (American English) includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators.

There are at least three relevant factors here: physicality, competition, and audience. To which I would add a fourth: objectivity, in the ways that the achievement of physical goals and the winning of competitions are assessed. Central examples of SPORT — baseball and wrestling, say — are competitions over the achievement of physical goals, judged objectively, and frequently engaged in as a show for an audience.

It follows from the competition factor that central examples of SPORT involve at least two participants.

The contrast is with ART, that is, art forms of various kinds. Central examples of ART — painting and piano-playing, say — are not essentially competitive, not essentially displays of physical achievement, are assessed on aesthetic rather than objective criteria, are often engaged in without an audience present, and are often solo activities.

But of course the factors don’t always align. There are at least three mixed cases.

In aesthetic sports, success in competition is measured in part by objective criteria — performing a set of prescribed moves, achieving specific physical goals — and partly by aesthetic criteria: “points on form”.

Aesthetic sports include diving, gymnastics, and ski jumping.

In competitive artistry, what is ordinarily a straightforward artistic activity is framed as a competition: art works or performances are submitted to a panel of judges, whose aesthetic judgments are then pooled to award medals. Such competitions are established traditions in many artistic fields, among them: ballet, opera singing, piano, violin, painting, photography, and architecture.

In sport/art, an activity is viewed simultaeously as sport and art, something that’s engaged in competitively as a matter of course but on other occasions is made available as an artistic display. That’s (non-sexual) pole dancing, above, and also figure skating.

From Wikipedia:

Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, duos, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport included in the Olympics, in 1908. The four Olympic disciplines are men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pair skating, and ice dancing. Non-Olympic disciplines include synchronized skating and four skating. From novice through senior-level competition, skaters generally perform two programs (short and long) which, depending on the discipline, may include spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals, and other elements or moves.

… The sport is also associated with show business. Major competitions generally conclude with exhibition galas, in which the top skaters from each discipline perform non-competitive programs. Many skaters, both during and after their competitive careers, also skate in ice shows which run during the competitive season and the off-season.

And that brings me  to Adam Rippon, who can supply both shirtless pleasures and gay interest:

(#2) Rippon at the 2018 winter Olympics

Adam Richard Rippon (born November 11, 1989) is an American figure skater.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Rippon won a bronze medal as part of the figure skating team event, thus becoming the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to win a medal in a Winter Olympics.

(#3) Rippon, shirtless, at the beach

… In March 2018, Rippon appeared at the 90th Academy Awards wearing a harness designed by Moschino.

(#4) Rippon, managing to be highly competent, adorably sexy, and outrageous, all at once

One Response to “Annals of sport/art”

  1. TommyBoy Says:

    Bodybuilding strikes me as a good example of sport/art.

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