They say everything is bigger in Texas and that is especially true when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys football stadium. At over 3 million square feet it is the largest NFL stadium in the country, boasting enough space for 100,000 fans. Team owners Jerry and Gene Jones wanted their stadium, which opened in 2009, to not only appeal to sports fans, but to those who love architecture, design, engineering, and art. Yes, art. To the Joneses it makes perfect sense to have an incredible collection of contemporary art on display in a football stadium. They believe that both sports and art have the power to get people talking, thinking, and interacting.
The couple launched the art program in 2009 with the help of art advisor Mary Zlot and a team of distinguished art world luminaries. To date the stadium displays 46 works of art by 35 artists. 14 of the works were commissioned specifically for the space. Art is displayed in staircases, entries, ramps, and suspended from ceilings making the stadium double as an art gallery. Many of the works feature the Dallas Cowboys star symbol or references to sports. Doug Aitkin’s 10-foot long Star, features a neon lit light box of the word star with an amped up image of the twinkling lights of Los Angeles at night. Wayne Gonzales’ 21-foot long image of a Cheering Crowd captures the exuberance of sports fans. Mel Bochner’s Win! Celebrates, and perhaps questions, the rah-rah language of sports with an oversized canvas featuring phrases like “Beat ‘em to a pulp!” and “Conquer!” An incredibly impressive merger of architecture, sports and culture, Cowboys Stadium redefines the sports arena as we know it, and expands the possibilities for displaying contemporary art.