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Custom Art Still Jersey Large

There’s a reason so many people find the art world to be impenetrable and elitist  – it’s designed to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting my local art gallery; it’s a great place to take the kids, and often, I discover beautiful and thought-provoking pieces. But sometimes, I feel downright frustrated by the works that have been chosen for inclusion.

A few years ago, I encountered a memorable piece of modern art – a scrunched up piece of A4 paper, lying on the floor, surrounded by a do-not-cross rectangle, presumably to ensure the janitors didn’t sweep the thing up after the gallery closed.

I watched, as gallery patrons came and went, most spending several minutes staring, contemplatively, at the scrunched-up paper. Nobody laughed; there was only deferential silence. Seeking guidance, I read the accompanying plaque, which said something about how the scrunched up paper was representative of the creative struggle.

Maybe it was. But it was still a scrunched up piece of paper. And to me, that piece was a perfect representation of the insular nature of the art world, the fact that an elite group of insiders can magically imbue a piece of paper with a massive amount of monetary and cultural value, merely by proclaiming it so.

Earlier this week, Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s creation, “Comedian,” a banana duct-taped to a wall, was sold for $120,000. A few days later, the banana was eaten by a local performance artist, David Datuna.

“Comedian,” however, lost none of its value – the eaten banana was soon replaced by another, equally ordinary banana, which inherited the monetary value of the previous banana, and was even deemed important enough to warrant police protection, in the event of another hungry performance artist.

“[Datuna] did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, a director at the gallery, told the Miami Herald. Perhaps the entire thing was staged, a publicity stunt, like Banksy shredding his own artwork, an act which only increased the value of said work.

“Comedian” seems to be a meta-commentary on the nature of value, perhaps mocking those with the authority to transform a piece of fruit into a small fortune. But even viewing the piece in that context seems to be giving the banana too much credit – questioning the valuation of art isn’t exactly an original idea. More than a hundred years ago, Marcel Duchamp turned an ordinary porcelain urinal into a famous piece of art, titled “Fountain.” I’ve seen a replica of the piece in my local gallery, and I even stared at it, contemplatively.

Of course, no one can tell you what is art, and what is not; there’s no official definition, no clear boundaries. If it moves you, you can call it art. If it doesn’t, and you want to call it art regardless, that’s fine. If art is anything, it’s subjective.

To the outsider, modern art often appears incomprehensible, and the belief that art somehow “peaked” decades, or even centuries ago, isn’t uncommon. Admittedly, it is easier to see the effort and skill behind a classical painting or sculpture than many modern, abstract installations. The context behind modern art isn’t always obvious. But then again, the fact that a banana can be sold for $120,000 is outright obscene.

Great art still exists, often outside of the major art institutions, in the small spaces, sold in stands and tiny galleries, untainted by the tsunami of money flowing through the mainstream.

But much of the art world, to me, resembles a niche internet subculture, a community of insiders, sharing memes that rarely leave the circle, memes which become progressively self-referential and abstract, until they evolve to the point that an outsider could never interpret them. To the outside world, the meme might be indecipherable nonsense, but to the community, it is imbued with meaning.

That’s the art world, but with one crucial difference – profit. Art is bought and sold for obscene amounts of money, the subjective value distorted by buyers and sellers, transformed into cold, hard cash. Personally, I find it hard to believe that art can even exist in such a space.

In fact, memes might be more representative of the human experience than many of the pricey pieces of modern art that fill galleries and auction houses. I’m deadly serious – memes might be silly, crude, forgettable, but they are never created for the purpose of profit (well, advertising companies generate memes too, but let’s exclude them, for the sake of my point).

Generally speaking, memes are created for creation’s sake, in the hope that others will like, share, or be inspired to customize the image, some created for no reason at all. Like a single frame of celluloid film, one meme can only hold so much meaning, but if viewed as a collective, in the context of the countless memes in which it shares its image or theme, the meme offers a more insightful look at the subconscious of modern humanity than a banana, duct-taped to a wall.

Or a scrunched up piece of paper, for that matter.

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Custom Alex Smith Jersey Large

Hindsight is always 20/20, especially when discussing sports. The 2005 NFL Draft is a perfect example when looking at it in 2019. This draft featured one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. The San Francisco 49ers held the first pick in the draft and were in need of a quarterback after a year of Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey.

In the end, they decided to draft the top prospect in the draft, Alex Smith from Utah. Later in the draft, exactly 23 picks later, the Green Bay Packers selected Aaron Rodgers out of California. Rodgers was selected with the 24th pick of the draft. This means that 22 teams other than San Francisco passed on him.

With the very next pick at 25, the Washington Redskins took Jason Campbell from Auburn. A conversation could be had about what if Rodgers fell one more spot to Washington. But the Redskins did not have the chance to draft him and the Niners did. So what if they went with Rodgers instead?

Heading into the 2005 NFL Draft, San Francisco had been targeting up to six players to take with the No. 1 pick, including Smith and Rodgers. Their decision was most likely made after a workout from Smith.

In 2005, scouts gathered on Utah’s campus to watch one of the top prospects make his case on why he should be taken first overall. Smith worked out for an hour and threw 80 passes. Of the 80 passes thrown, just three went incomplete and only one was deemed uncatchable. One month later, the Niners made Smith their franchise quarterback.
What If Rodgers Over Smith?

Smith has had a nice career in the NFL. There is no denying his ability to lead a team and win in the regular season. Smith has had pinpoint accuracy since entering the league and was never one to turn the ball over. The knock with Smith is his inability to win the big game.

Whether it was with the 49ers or Kansas City, Smith was never able to make it to the big game. Also, when you think of a game managing quarterback, Smith comes to mind.

Rodgers has been quite the opposite. He has won a Super Bowl in his career and is a complete game changing player. Rodgers is widely considered as the most talented quarterback to ever play the game. His arm talent is incredible and is something we may never see again.

If the Niners would have drafted Rodgers, they would have won at least one Super Bowl. There are other factors to consider. For example, would Rodgers have clicked with Jim Harbaugh? Would Rodgers have left in free agency? Did his years sitting behind Brett Favre really mean that much to his progress?

Knowing what we now know, the Niners had talented teams under Harbaugh and should have won more. It is hard to argue against Rodgers being the player that could have taken the 49ers over the top.

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Custom Mecole Hardman Jersey Large

Mecole Hardman faces a steep learning curve as an incoming rookie wideout in Andy Reid‘s offense, but the Chiefs have pretty high hopes for him out of the gate.
Mecole Hardman admits there’s a serious learning curve at this point in his professional life.

The Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver was the team’s top overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, a second-round selection out of the University of Georgia at No. 56 overall for which general manager Brett Veach traded up five spots to secure. Safety Juan Thornhill would come a few spots later at No. 63.

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The Chiefs have been very intentional in their approach with Hardman, which means the learning curve is purposeful. The coaches have admittedly saddled him with a heavy load mentally to learn the game that comes so quickly to him on the field.

“It’s coming to me. It’s still fast though,” said Hardman from Thursday’s practice. “Just coming from college and the new material, new play calling, new concepts—it’s hard at first, but the more you do it, the more repetition you get, the easier it comes.”

There’s good reasons for the Chiefs pressing Hardman like they are. Hardman was the prize possession for Veach early on in the draft for two primary reasons. First and foremost on the minds of fans and analysts, the Kansas City Chiefs catapulted from great to historically great last season under new starter Patrick Mahomes. The cannon of an arm on Mahomes allows the team to stretch the field vertically due to the league-leading speed of wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Given the investigations into Tyreek Hill’s familial situation and home life this offseason, questions have arose about Hill’s availability in 2019, at least for a stretch of time.

Hardman, then, is an excellent substitute for Hill given his ability to take the top off of a defense vertically as well as his electric return abilities on special teams. The Chiefs’ offense is predicated on the mismatches created by Andy Reid’s clever play design, and Hardman is another athletic marvel for whom such meticulous plans will pay off.

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On the flip side, Hardman is also a way to keep from coasting offensively. Just when defenses think they’ve adjusted or at least got some sort of ideas on how they might stop an offense with Hill, tight end Travis Kelce, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, now the Chiefs have dual vertical threats. It’s not enough just to have one guy who can keep pace with Hill’s incredible top-end speed and agility; now there are two top-shelf talents who will eventually learn in tandem how best to threaten defenders in deep coverage.

When and if the Chiefs are able to get all of their players on the field, it should be a nightmare for opposing coordinators. The challenge for the coaching staff now is getting Hardman to learn these schemes and plays as quickly as possible. Hardman gave one example of the coaching demands when asked about Dave Toub.

“He’s a perfectionist,” said Hardman of the Chiefs special teams coach. “I’m a perfectionist as well. I want to be right and do everything right. I think his expectation for me is high and that’s what I expect out of any coach that’s coaching me. The expectations are to be above the rules, so he’s a hard coach but he’s one who’s going to teach you and make sure you get better as the days go on.”

Hardman admits the learning curve isn’t just mental with the playbook; it’s also something he faces on the field as he learns the style and ability of Mahomes under center.
“I’m still learning from him—learning how he throws balls, learning where he wants me to be and where I need to be,” Hardman said. “I’d say the chemistry is growing and I’m getting comfortable every day with running my routes. Eventually, we’ll get it down and we’ll get it where we need to be … He’s got a great arm. He’s a good quarterback. Just being on the same field and talking with him and working with him, it’s impressive.

NEXT: Five bold predictions for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019
Hardman had only 35 catches last year for the Georgia Bulldogs, but seven of those catches went for touchdowns. Hardman also had 543 receiving yards in 2018.