The Costacos Brothers "For the Kids" @ Country Club, Los AngelesJuxtapoz // Wednesday, 28 Dec 2011
After the success of the For the Kids exhibition at Salon 94 in NYC this past summer (and the feature we did with the brothers in conjunction), the Costacos Brothers and team behind the NYC show are bringing the seminal sports poster art collection to Los Angeles for an exhibition at Country Club LA this January, 2012.
Adam Shopkorn and Fabienne Stephan were behind the exhibition that brought the sports lithographs from the archives of John and Tock Costacos to NYC. We will definitely be heading down once again when the Costacos Brothers open up at Country Club.
Costacos Brothers, originally a sports t-shirt manufac- turer, built a reputation for “fantasy” sports posters that gave professional sports heroes a larger-than-life look and appeal. Their products captured the imagination of sports fans at a time when athletes were becoming pop stars. Without a license from professional sports leagues, they were unable to produce game action shots. Instead, they made personality posters, marry- ing pop culture to an athlete and his persona. They understood that at a certain point a player gains a public profile that transcends their team, catapulting them to individual stardom.
Tapping into their local sports market, the brothers’ big break came in 1985 when Kenny Easley, the All-Pro safety for the Seattle Seahawks, agreed to pose for a poster. Rather than posing him for an action shot in team gear, which was the sports poster industry standard at the time, Kenny liked the concept of his image as a tough-guy in leather jacket and gloves. He became “The Enforcer.” Soon after, they signed Los Angeles Raiders defensive back Lester Hayes and, using the language of a popular daytime television show at the time, titled their work “The Judge: Lester’s Court.” The sales of both posters were modest and they did not gain much traction outside of their local markets. Following suit, the Chicago Bears Jim McMa- hon became “Mad Mac,” playing on the film “Mad Max.” On the heels of the Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl victory, McMahon’s poster struck a chord in the marketplace and sales soared. In its first week, 10,000 copies were sold.
Costacos said, “We wanted to make the athletes into comic book heroes. They’re larger than life. They’re Superman. They’re Batman. They’re Hollywood action stars that kick the shit out of 20 bad guys always living to fight another day.”
For the Kids
January 21—March 4, 2012
Saturday, January 21st, 2012, 6-9 pm
Los Angeles, California