The similarities between performance art and sports aren't lost on the Pomona College football team. Football games are elaborate stews of choreographed routine that are meaningless without an audience. So it didn't surprise head coach Roger Caron when two dozen players volunteered to take part in John White's Preparation F.
“This isn't a Division I school, where kids are here just to play football,” Caron says. “For them, it's a part of their day-to-day lives as mild-mannered college students.”
First performed in a campus ballroom in 1971, this new performance will take place in the gym. Audiences will watch from the bleachers as the team stretches and scrimmages and, after a shamanistic intervention from an audience member, changes back into street clothes and walks offstage. By moving a football practice onto a stage, White has moved the game out of the arena of entertainment and under the critical microscope of art. It will ask the question: Why does society condone violence if it's committed while in uniform?
White's performance precedes Judy Chicago's A Butterfly for Pomona, a pyrotechnic display inspired by her fireworks performances of the 1970s, Atmospheres, to be held on the football field. Curator Rebecca McGrew says the pairing is coincidental but wrought with dramatic irony: taking the team off the field before creating the illusion of blowing it up.

Sat., Jan. 21, 5 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly