2:21pm

Wed July 25, 2012
Arts & Culture

Run – or pole vault, or swim – to Legion of Honor’s “Gift from the Gods” exhibit

Long ago and far away – in Greece, nearly 3,000 years ago, to be exact – highly-trained athletes gathered every four years at a place called Olympia to show off their skills and to honor Zeus, king of the gods.

There was no controversy in those days about the contract for designing the uniforms, or where they were made, because the (male) athletes usually competed naked. The participants didn’t compete for contracts for shoe or shampoo commercials, either. The focus was solely on the Olympic ideal of doing your best, in honor of your Maker. But as I say, that was long ago and far away.

San Francisco’s Legion of Honor museum is remembering the ancient origins of the games, as well as our fascination with sports in general, with an exhibit called “Gifts from the Gods: Art and the Olympic Ideal.” This show includes examples of ancient Olympic art along with works through the ages that celebrate “the body in motion.”  The Bay Area is represented here by artists Michael Schwab and J. Robert Anderson.

The exhibit is timed to open with the summer Olympics in London this weekend and will remain on display until late January 2013.

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