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23 October 2016
By Lee Walton
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And the Winner Is, 2012

Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, Haverford, PA


And the Winner Is was a curatorial project by John Muse and Matthew Callinan that took place at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College in Haverford, PA. This project took the form of a campus-wide skee-ball tournament for students, faculty, and staff. Invited artists created sports and competition themed work to accompany the program. In addition to a series of video works, I was invited to invent and create the 1st Place Prize for the winner of the tournament.


I wanted to play on the mega-spectacle of sports culture: our overzealous attention to individuals that win, those that lose, and the responsibility the winner must carry to appease the public. It was important for me that the project critique the spectacle of sports and the responsibility of the athletes, while also creating a very genuine and real experience for the winner.


Similar to the way the NBA’s championship team is invited to the White House, I invited the winner on a one‐day round trip to Greensboro, NC.


Immediately after declaring victory, Nick Kahn, a sophomore English student, was taken to the Philadelphia Airport and flown directly to Greensboro, NC. After a 6-hour visit, Nick was back on an airplane to Philadelphia.


I coordinated with over 20 members of the Greensboro community to make Nick’s visit a positive and exciting experience. The itinerary was designed with the goal of sharing my community with the winner rather than the more popular tourist attractions. This played on the expectation of spectacle and became a celebration of the everyday beauty of Greensboro. However, there were many twists to the day that enhanced the experience. Nick was celebrated both for his success and as a guest to our city.


The short 6-hour trip to experience a place Nick has never been before directly relates to my projects Places We’ve Never Been to Before and Glimpse, which both explore the intensity of an experience through durational limitations.


Some examples of the itinerary included:


  • Surprise donut party at my house with my daughter, neighborhood friends, my wife, and UNCG students.
  • Solitary walk down Elm Street with trailing saxophonist creating a melodic soundtrack. In this way, Nick could feel like he was the star in his own movie.
  • Private tours of Elsewhere Collaborative by owner George Scheer, Weatherspoon by exhibition curator Xandra Eden, and Glenwood Coffee and Books by owner Al Brilliant.
  • Leisurely game of Frisbee with UNCG students while accompanied by Irish bagpipe music played by a man wearing a traditional Irish kilt.
  • Homemade pizza party by local artist and chef Dhanraj Oring.
  • Therapeutic deep tissue message by Hand and Stone Massage.



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