Another masterpiece has been added to a rapidly expanding subgenre of art: sculptures of famous athletes that look nothing like those famous athletes.
Brandi Chastain, the soccer star whose pull-her-jersey-off goal celebration in the 1999 World Cup provided one of sport’s most iconic moments, is the latest, er, victim of sculptural farcicalism. She was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night, and her plaque has been universally judged to be even worse than the previous worst of this budding movement.
A sculpture of the soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo at the Madeira International Airport in Portugal unveiled last year was widely derided in the seldom-tempered Twitterverse as really bad. And just like the sculpture of Ronaldo, there was a nearly immediate pledge to redo the Chastain work. This time Chastain has been asked to send in a photo of herself for the hall of fame to use for their do-over.
Before the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the plaque would be adjusted, the sculptural accuracy police were all over the Chastain representation, which proudly embraces whatever the opposite of Realism is. Even Ann Killion, the Chronicle columnist who wrote the words that accompany the image on the plaque, joined in the chorus of criticism.
In the spirit of inclusiveness, art critics and people with access to Twitter cited other touchstones of downright terrible likenesses, like the weird courtroom sketch of Tom Brady.
At her induction ceremony, Chastain spoke carefully. “It’s not the most flattering,” she said, according to The San Jose Mercury News. “But it’s nice.”
Anthony Savicke, a vice president of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, told The Mercury News that the images on the plaques were merely “representations.” Of whom it was unclear.
When Emanuel Santos, the sculptor responsible for the Ronaldo travesty, took another shot at the bust earlier this year, he did better, by all accounts.
He told The BBC of his original work: “It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone.”
Neither Greeks nor Trojans were lining up to praise the plaque that features Chastain’s name and someone else’s face.
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