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Cleveland Cavaliers Announce Internationally-Renowned Artist Daniel Arsham as Organization’s Creative Director

Innovative partnership is first of its kind in the NBA
Portrait of Daniel Arsham by James Law. Moving Basketball, 2019, on view at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland, November 17, 2020—Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers announced today that Cleveland, Ohio-native and internationally-celebrated artist Daniel Arsham joins the organization as Creative Director. The groundbreaking partnership, initiated by Grant Gilbert, Director of Brand Strategy for the Cavaliers and Anthony Curis, co-founder of Detroit-based gallery Library Street Collective, is also believed to be the first of its kind in professional sports. As one of the most respected contemporary artists working today, Arsham straddles the line between art, architecture and performance. His singular aesthetic evokes a playfulness; inspired by everyday experiences or common objects, Arsham blurs the boundaries of perception and expectation. As part of this long-term collaboration, Arsham will become a minority partner in the franchise and be responsible for the Cavaliers visual identity across all aspects of the organization. The organization also includes the Cleveland Monsters (AHL), Canton Charge (NBA G League), and Cavs Legion (NBA 2K) in addition to operating Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

“Basketball, as a global phenomenon, is a reoccurring theme in my work and I am a longtime Cavs fan. However, most people don’t know that I have strong personal ties to Cleveland. My family’s Cleveland roots go back to 1908 when my great grandfather moved to The Land. My grandfather, father, and I were all born in Cleveland. Cleveland is an iconic American city, and the people of Cleveland have immense pride in their hometown. To join the Cavaliers as Creative Director, and to have the opportunity to help shape and lead the team’s visual identity as we look ahead to the future, is an unbelievable honor that I cannot wait to share with the full community of Cavs fans and partners here and around the world. I want to thank the Gilberts, as well as the entire organization for having this vision and inviting me to join the Cavs family,” said Daniel Arsham. Read Arsham's letter to Cleveland here.

“We are beyond excited to welcome Daniel into the Cavs organization, and to be at the forefront of innovation with this new partnership. Daniel’s singular vision as an artist and creative thinker will take us in thrilling and unexpected new directions and at the same time, ensure that we continue to deliver world-class experiences, both on and off the court, for our community and fans worldwide. This type of partnership has, until now, been unprecedented in sports, and everyone on the team is looking forward to seeing Daniel’s ideas brought to life,” said Grant Gilbert, Director of Brand Strategy.

Last year, the Cavaliers unveiled a site-specific installation by Arsham, entitled Moving Basketball, as part of the new Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Public Art Program, a contemporary art initiative featuring over 100 works, which launched in September of 2019 with the grand opening of the fully transformed venue. The collection, privately funded by Dan and Jennifer Gilbert, was curated by Library Street Collective. Anthony Curis, who was pivotal in bringing this new partnership to fruition, serves as co-founder and partner in the gallery. According to Curis, “Arsham’s appointment as Creative Director is an acknowledgment of the massive influence artists have on culture at large, including across fashion, music and, now, sports. It also serves as a testament to the Cavs organization; that in their desire to offer fans a well-rounded cultural experience they saw the potential in creating a more dynamic relationship between contemporary art and basketball. I couldn’t be happier for Daniel in this moment.”

The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Public Art Program, an ongoing initiative unparalleled in scope, features site-specific commissions created for the arena that convey a spirit of sportsmanship and resilience. Arsham’s installation, Moving Basketball, plays with the realities of movement and space, and is presented alongside works by renowned contemporary artists including Nina Chanel Abney, Shephard Fairey and KAWS and rotating exhibitions by celebrated local artists such as Donald Black Jr., Erin Guido, Kasumi and Darius Steward.

Additional details regarding Daniel Arsham’s role as Creative Director of the Cleveland Cavaliers will be announced in the coming weeks.

For media inquiries, please contact cavs@suttoncomms.com. Follow the conversation on social media: @danielarsham, @cavs and @librarystreetcollective.

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