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Exhibitions

Muhammad Ali, LeRoy Neiman, and the Art of Boxing

December 11, 2016
-
March 26, 2017
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​Who could "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee"? Muhammad Ali was The Greatest—he even said so himself. Born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, he was a three-time heavyweight champion and an outspoken, popular, and often controversial public figure. In the early 1960s, Ali found friendship with renowned artist LeRoy Neiman, with whom he shared an affinity for boxing, the limelight, and breaking with convention. Neiman even taught and encouraged Ali to draw. Using works on loan from the LeRoy Neiman Foundation, Muhammad Ali, LeRoy Neiman, and the Art of Boxing celebrates one of America's greatest boxers and one of the most popular artists of the sport. Neiman’s vivid watercolors and intimate, on-the-spot sketches capture Ali both in and outside the ring. Highlights include portraits, sketches of Ali's critical matches such as the "Fight of the Century" and the "Thrilla in Manila," and some works created by Ali himself.

Two sides of Ali
LeRoy Neiman saw Muhammad Ali through the stroke of his pencil and the swipe of his paint brush, while another artist and friend of Ali's, George Kalinsky, captured many of the same explosive moments in Ali's career through the crispness of photography. On display simultaneously at New-York Historical, see Ali through the eyes of two artistic greats. Visit "I Am King of the World”: Photographs of Muhammad Ali by George Kalinsky.

Support for this exhibition provided by the LeRoy Neiman Foundation and The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

Exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

 

 

Media sponsor:
WNET

 

 

With remarkable similarity, George Kalinksy and LeRoy Neiman expressed moments of Ali's life in parallel fashion. Below, check out a few kindred pieces they created in their respective mediums.

 

The winning pose

George Kalinsky
Muhammad Ali vs Zora Folley fight, 1967
Chromogenic print from original scanned film
Courtesy George Kalinsky

LeRoy Neiman
Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, 1965
Mixed media on paper
Courtesy LeRoy Neiman Foundation

 

Ali vs Frazier at Madison Square Garden, 1971

George Kalinsky
Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, 1971
Chromogenic print from original scanned film
Courtesy George Kalinsky

LeRoy Neiman
Round 11, Ali-Frazier at Madison Square Garden,
March 8, 1971
Mixed media on paper
Courtesy LeRoy Neiman Foundation

Training before the press

George Kalinsky
Muhammad Ali working out at his training facility
in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania
, 1972
Chromogenic print from original scanned film
Courtesy George Kalinsky

LeRoy Neiman
LeRoy Neiman Ali and the California Gang at the
5th Street Gym, Miami
,
February 27, 1971
Mixed media on paper
Courtesy LeRoy Neiman Foundation

Interviews and media attention

George Kalinsky
Sportscaster Howard Cosell interviewing
Ali in Miami,
1965
Chromogenic print from original scanned film
Courtesy George Kalinsky

LeRoy Neiman
Liston and Clay Weigh-In,
February 24, 1964
Mixed media and collage on paper
Courtesy LeRoy Neiman Foundation

Creative: Tronvig Group