“CAMH COURT” is the first-ever playable basketball court in an art museum, commissioned and designed by Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock.
The NCAA Men’s Final Four® lands in Houston this spring. In celebration of this, one of the United States’ oldest non-collecting contemporary art museums will transform into a basketball court. “CAMH COURT” is a unique envisioning of a basketball court conforming to the signature dimensions of CAMH’s Brown Foundation Gallery through the canting of a regulation-size court into a parallelogram. Emerging from Hancock’s hyper-imagination, the court is an immersive and uniquely spirited playing environment where audiences can dunk from the three-point line or lose themselves in the embrace of Hancock’s striped Bringback characters, which swarm from baseline to baseline.
CAMH COURT adds a new layer to Hancock’s storied history with CAMH, which originated with his first solo museum exhibition, “Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Life and Death of #1” (2001); featured his work in the group show, “Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Comics in Contemporary Art” (2003); and presented his acclaimed retrospective, “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing” (2014).
“CAMH COURT” builds upon the deep history of artist-designed sporting environments—Robert Indiana’s MECCA Arena floor in Milwaukee (1977), Simparch’s free basin skate bowl (2000), the famed Pigalle court in Paris (2017), and most recently, Project Backboard’s revitalized community courts. “CAMH COURT” is not simulated or symbolic; it’s a place to sweat. The backboards, game balls, ballers, and referees unite to create a place less like a museum than a community anchor. “CAMH COURT” speaks across communities, bridging Dr. James Naismith’s original 13 Rules with Houston’s March Madness and the ecstatic promise of an art museum whose doors are thrown open in radical welcome.
All ages are welcome to play, with a special youth court available to those ages 12 and under. Players must sign a waiver to play and wear rubber-soled shoes to walk on the court. Those without the right shoewear will be given slipover shoe covers to wear. Players can get a basketball to play by giving any form of ID to the front desk to check out a basketball. The court is open play as first-come, first-serve unless otherwise programmed. Players under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present.
Throughout the exhibition, community partners will activate “CAMH COURT” with programming and events, culminating in the “CAMH Ball” on April 29, a sneakers-only iteration of CAMH’s annual gala and art auction. Through basketball-focused events and Hancock’s large- scale art commission, “CAMH COURT” presents an unforgettable experience of contemporary art, basketball, and culture.