World-renowned artist Hank Willis Thomas unveiled this monumental 10-foot tall stainless steel sculpture during Super Bowl LVII, Arizona 2023 where it was installed in the iconic Super Bowl Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center and then in the Great Lawn outside the State Farm Stadium during Super Bowl LVII. Capturing the essence of Thomas’ artistic practice, this latest sculpture draws from his 2015 sculpture “Opportunity,” which was inspired by the NFL, and as part of his interest in photographic history, popular culture, and sports as a metaphor for individual and collective struggle or hope. “Hank’s powerful sculpture showcased during Super Bowl week beautifully represents the passion, strength, and hope at the heart of our game,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business & League Events.
The artwork falls within Thomas’ “Punctum” series, which is based on Roland Barthes’ photographic theory of the punctum referring to the detail in an image that pierces or wounds the viewer, creating a direct relationship between them and the pictured object or person. Thomas uses this concept to select or reframe areas of images, which he then transforms into large-scale sculptures. “Opportunity (reflection)” portrays a snapshot of an anonymous player whose arm extends outward to catch the football. The viewer is reflected back in the mirrored surface and invited to imagine these tense few moments, filled with great anticipation, the successful catch leading to success and celebration, as well as loss and defeat for the opposing team.