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Karl Malone Has A Special Delivery: Sports Posters From The '80s Are Now Art

Alert the hoopsters! A series of sports lithographs created by John and Tock Costacos in the late 1980s are on display at Salon 94, a Manhattan gallery located on Freeman Alley in the Lower East Side, from June 23 until the end of July. There's an opening reception this Thursday night, from 6 to 8 p.m, and you are cordially invited provided that you find a throwback Malone jersey to wear over your pressed Oxford.

The Costacos brothers were inspired to "[marry] pop culture to an athlete and his persona," and they did so earnestly. The posters are intentionally campy, but they also hang in a balance between irony and profundity that we don't see too often these days:

"We wanted to make the athletes into comic book heroes. They're larger than life. They're Superman. They're Batman. They're Hollywood action stars that kick the shit out of 20 bad guys always living to fight another day." The Costacos signature images, with their campy porno-like titles, are at once commando-kitsch and aspirational.


I know what you're thinking, because I am too: had you kept that New York Liberty Rebecca Lobo poster when you were cleaning out your room in 2001, you'd totally be a millionaire right now. Hindsight is a missed postmodern art deal. Anyway, here's a sampling.

James Worthy is: L.A. Law. Also enjoys perfecting his giant signature in a book propped up by an admiring secretary.


Eric Davis is: 44 Magnum. Would be seriously deadly if his giant gun did not require multiple people to lift it.


Kenny Easley is: The Enforcer. No one goes down Easley Street without surrendering their football gear.


Bill Fralic is: William the Conqueror. With Afghan Hounds and a house plant.


Patrick Ewing is: the Madison Square Guardian. With Bergen fencing and a withering-but-also-slightly-come-hither stare.

"For The Kids" is on display at Salon 94 from June 23 to July 30.

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