and the Legendary Painter LeRoy Neiman To Be Celebrated in Debut Exhibition at U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum – The Hype Magazine

Art Exhibits

Published on July 23rd, 2020 | by Jerry Doby

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Legendary Painter LeRoy Neiman To Be Celebrated in Debut Exhibition at U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum

The LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum are pleased to announce the Museum’s debut exhibition: A survey of the Olympic work of LeRoy Neiman, who served as the official painter of the five Olympic Games from 1972 to 2010. The exhibition marks the first time these works have been collected in one place and will open alongside the Museum itself opening in 2020. 

Comprised of more than 100 of Neiman’s Olympic works, the exhibit will combine the universal languages of art and sport. Viewers will see works of iconic American athletes like Carl Lewis, the 1972 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, and Caitlin Jenner, then competing as Bruce Jenner. 

LeRoy Neiman, Opening Ceremonies – XXIII Olympiad, 1984 (Courtesy of the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation)

The works on display are part of a gift of nearly 200 works to the Museum from the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, which will also lend one of Neiman’s personal easels for the show. 

LeRoy Neiman, Olympic Runners, 1996 (Courtesy of the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation)

Working cooperatively with the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Foundation, the Al Oerter Foundation, and the Art of the Olympians, the USOPM will facilitate a series of vibrant education programs for middle school students pulling inspiration from the Tokyo Games. Young artists will learn from real Olympians, Paralympians, and Team USA athletes who are passionate about both sport and art in beautiful Colorado Springs. 

“LeRoy was probably best known for his sports paintings,” the foundation’s executive director Tara Zabor said, “but the Olympics allowed him to showcase all of his strengths as an artist. LeRoy enjoyed the Olympics so deeply because of the spirit of the Games—the athletes coming together from far and wide and bringing their stories with them. You can feel these stories in his Olympic works, which is part of what makes them so enduring” 

The Museum will also bring Neiman’s work to life with cutting-edge technical innovations projected onto the Museum’s 40-foot high LED wall in the atrium. Viewers will see Neiman’s style digitized and grafted onto modern photographs featuring the likes of modern Olympic and Paralympic legends. The Museum’s gift shop will use similar technology in a “Neiman-izer” photo booth, allowing visitors to turn themselves into the champions of a Neiman artwork. 

During his life, Neiman was one of America’s most popular artists. His painting style and trademark mustache were forever etched into popular consciousness, thanks in part to his work at the Olympics, and to his regular appearances on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. He didn’t mind performing before a live audience, and his explosive, expressionistic style has a wit and verve that lend his works an eternal immediacy, particularly when their subject is sports. 

“LeRoy Neiman was his own artist, someone whose style… had mysteriously selected him,” Jerry Saltz has written. “He then perfected it and took it as far as he possibly could, unashamed, with acceptance, joy, brio, experimentation, and boundless generosity.” 

LeRoy Neiman, Olympic Torch Bearer, c. 1980-1984 (Courtesy of the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation)

The soon to be opened U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum will be more than a simple archive of sports history; rather, it is a monument to the culture surrounding the Games, when the world’s larger problems are put aside, and we all watch a beautiful exhibition of human will. 

“LeRoy didn’t just paint a competition, he painted the buzz surrounding it,” said USOPM chief executive officer Christopher Liedel, “He painted the stakes, and the grandeur of the moment. He painted the ways people come together. And that’s what we think the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic represents. Sports have the power to unit and adding Neiman’s collection to the Museum was a natural fit.” 

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, and its comprehensive LeRoy Neiman exhibition, will open later in 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

About the LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation The LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation seeks to perpetuate the legacy and philanthropic spirit of LeRoy Neiman, and to advance and share the impact of his life, his ideals and artwork in the U.S. and throughout the world. The Foundation supports organizations that promote the study, improvement and advancement of the arts and provide opportunities for at- risk youth to develop paths to successful futures. 

About the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, which is under construction in downtown Colorado Springs, is set to open in the spring of 2020. It will be a dynamic tribute to the nation’s Olympic and Paralympic movements with inclusive, immersive, and interactive exhibits to ignite the athletic spirit and inspire generations to come. The museum will go beyond simply being a museum of U.S. sports history but will be a cultural museum that is focused on social progress and innovation through science and technology.



About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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