Coolly observational yet intensely engaging, American Sports, 1970 draws a subtle but sharp parallel between the war in Vietnam and the American attitude toward spectator sports during a time of conflict. In 1970, a watershed year for popular opinion against the war, Tod Papageorge was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation grant. His ostensible subject-sports and its role in American life-quickly became charged with the political, racial, and sexual conflicts ignited by the war. Picture after picture is electric with disquiet: military men in uniform parading on the field or relaxing in the stands; cheerleaders rehearsing under the eyes of police; a couple sprawled and embracing in the debris of the Indianapolis 500; and hundreds of fans, drawn in unsettling group portraits, at various stadiums and in the stands of many classic American sporting events.
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