Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Than A Game: LeBron & Le Grand Palais

As part of his world tour, titled "More Than A Game", 2009 NBA MVP LeBron James was recently in Paris for the conclusion of a youth basketball camp which took the form of a tournament and dunk contest in Le Grand Palais. The building—originally meant to serve as a temporary exhibiton space for the Exposition Universelle of 1900 (a World's Fair)—still exists after a century of sporadic use(s), obligatory renovations, and demolition plans (RE: Le Corbusier). Since its construction, the interior has seen various exhibitions which act as showcases of static objects and new technologies; from artworks to automobiles to aircrafts and agriculture—though, from what it seems, the space has rarely allowed a sport to frame its architectural program. In this way, the structure—frequently used for salons of mundane, pedestrian inventions and presentations of bourgeois, cultural products—finds an new, active/animated purpose. Coincidentally, basketball was invented the same decade that Le Grand Palais was constructed, and one could even say that the performance of this distinctly American act in this iconic French space culturally links these two countries in the same manner the Exposition Universelle of 1900 had originally aimed to. For more information about Le Grand Palais, click HERE. And for more information about LeBron's tour, click HERE.

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