The Beautiful Game

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At the height of the World Cup, with the best soccer players vying for the global title, few can question the sport’s aesthetic prowess. But is it art? An exhibit on show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art explores the wide range of artistic perspectives on the game through 32 divergent artists. While some pieces focus on particular moments or players (such as the 16-foot bronze statue of retired French superstar Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt heard ’round the world) other artists focus on more macro issues surrounding soccer’s role in globalization and the world economy. From hooligan-centric paintings to explorations of extreme nationalism in soccer the exhibit manages to examine a wide breadth of the sport’s issues and character through art. What’s perhaps most interesting is the show finding a home in the US, one of the few countries not to embrace the game on a large scale.