A Monument to Brett Favre
I knew this would drive you all crazy. Mwuhahahahahahahaha!
Wisconsin native envisions Favreâ€™s games streak as high art
By Sean Schultz
Brett Favreâ€™s streak â€” starting 208 consecutive games as the Green Bay Packersâ€™ quarterback â€” sets him apart from other athletes and makes him a hero to Packers fans.
But one fan, a native of Kiel, sees more to that streak than a scoreboard. He sees it as art.
Tim Launâ€™s â€œFavre Era Shrineâ€ was unveiled in model scale April 23 for a monthlong exhibit at Parkerâ€™s Box, a Brooklyn gallery.
This preliminary â€œlow-techâ€ model is made from foam core, photographs, a computer and one fanâ€™s realization that Favreâ€™s tenure â€œis a real meaningful, cultural thing.â€
He built it for fans and players â€œwho kind of transcend the game,â€ Laun added. And he built it for Favre, whom fans idolize â€œfor his legacy, determination and endurance. That was the starting point for this project.â€
Laun sees his concept, on which a patent is pending, as â€œa monument to celebrate Favreâ€™s accomplishments and the whole era.â€
Itâ€™s a monument, too, to kids like Laun, the Kiel boy who grew up, like thousands of other Wisconsinites, reserving Sunday afternoons and Monday nights for Packers games.
Laun points out his own streak: the last game this 30-year-old missed was when he was in eighth grade. Even as a New Yorker since 1996, he gets himself to a Packers bar to watch every game the team plays.
The last time he got a Packersâ€™ autograph, though, was when his dad took him to the Piggly Wiggly store in Sheboygan. They stood in line to get Don Majkowskiâ€™s John Henry.
The artist said the concept came to him when he compared the sports fan phenomenon among Packers fans to those who support other sports and teams in the United States and abroad.
â€œIf the Giants and the Jets are not playing well, nobody gets real invested, nobody cares,â€ Laun said. But Europeans regard their teams as Packers fans do, with â€œa strong following by the fans and pride of where you come from.â€
The exhibit, he said, â€œsays as much about the culture as it does about Brett Favre. Thatâ€™s why I can call it art; itâ€™s not one thing, itâ€™s several things.â€
Laun found his calling as a painter in Kiel High School art classes. He went on to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for his bachelorâ€™s degree in studio arts. He took just one computer graphics class at Point, but it set the course for his future.
At 22, he left Wisconsin to earn a masterâ€™s degree in fine arts at Hunter College in New York City.
There he would depart from traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture to pursue his technology leanings and create his art with computers.
â€œMost artists in my generation donâ€™t think of it as anything different than a pencil or brush,â€ he said.
The shrine is a concept he canâ€™t afford to build himself since it involves 208 TVs for an actual installation, plus NFL footage to capture each game in Favreâ€™s continuum.
Instead of the technology, â€œI found photos for every game for a mock up and built it in my studio,â€ Laun said.
The result is a 110-inch-wide photo of the concept he envisions. The concept calls for TV screens to be mounted in a 360-degree setting. Viewers would surround themselves with images that would provide the feel of the crowd and the athletes on any given game day. He sees earphones attached to each monitor so the roar of the crowd and the whistles of officials could enhance the mood.
â€œThey could walk into this place and see it all at one time and in one place,â€ Laun said. â€œThey could reflect on what they were doing the first time they saw a game.â€ And those who never saw Favre throw a football â€œwould get something from it.â€
Launâ€™s project has gone from an idea to a mockup in an art exhibit. Recently, heâ€™s been in contact with a Green Bay businessman who is also part-owner of the Brooklyn gallery. Theyâ€™re trying to work out a deal to bring the concept to Green Bay. Laun hopes for the support of the Packers, Favre and likely the NFL if it is ever to come to life as a bona fide exhibit.
When heâ€™s not paying artistic homage to Americaâ€™s Pack, Laun is studio manager and adjunct professor in Hunter Collegeâ€™s Master of Fine Arts program.
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