‘Art of Golf’ exhibits the beauty of the game

Tom Morris Senior

Sir George Reid's - Tom Morris, Sr.

As someone who received his bachelors degree in the History of Art, I have a keen appreciation for the fine arts and their ability to express human circumstance. And what better subject to express than the game of golf? Golf, perhaps more than any other sport, is one expressed through images.  Indeed, even the game itself is played upon works of art from the great course architects throughout the ages. At the same time, however, the game is relatively unknown as a subject in the visual arts world.

I was very excited, then, to see that the “Art of Golf” exhibit is coming to the High Museum in Atlanta, Ga. Howard Pousner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a nice write-up on the exhibit.  He writes:

“[W]ith the exhibit ‘The Art of Golf,’ the first major art survey on the subject organized by an American art institution, the High hopes to show that the poetry of golf in fact can be captured in a museum, that sport and art can be one. 

The show includes more than 90 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture spanning four centuries by artists ranging from Rembrandt to James McNeil Whistler and Charles Lees to Charles Schulz.”

I have never been to Atlanta, but this exhibit could inspire me to go. Golf and art history are two of my life passions and I’m sure that a world-class museum like the High will likely do a terrific job presenting the material to visitors.  Pousner’s article also captures a priceless quote from the exhibit’s curator, Julia Forbes:

“It was really exciting because no one had really done this work before, taking the subject matter of golf and thinking about how it had inspired artists,’ Forbes said. ‘So in the end, to realize that we actually have had 400 years worth of artistic expression around this game is really remarkable.”

Golf deserves more attention for its contribution to artistic expression throughout history.  The Shivas Irons Society (SIS), an organization inspired by Michael Murphy’s character from Golf in the Kingdom, is another group that does an excellent job of presenting the game’s art.  Its Shivas Gallery is an online resource featuring fine art and photography that has been inspired by golf and its heritage.

Let’s hope the High exhibit and groups like SIS continue to inspire others to bring forth the creative spirit of the links and all its mysteries.

Has anyone seen this exhibit yet? Who wants to meet me in Atlanta to see it?

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