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SVA's Keith Mayerson Paints LeBron James for MOCA Cleveland

From Sotheby’s: “As an Ohio native, Keith Mayerson couldn't help but feel inspired by LeBron James leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a long-awaited victory at the NBA Championship this past June. ‘Although I spent much of my childhood in Colorado, I was born in Ohio and am a “Buckeye” at heart," he says. ‘I love the city and am very at home artistically there.’ Now, the event that captured so many people's imaginations will be celebrated in Mayerson's new painting The Block, to be auctioned off at a benefit to support MOCA Cleveland on 9 September. The Block will also be on view at MOCA Cleveland as part of Mayerson's upcoming exhibit, The American Dream. We spoke with the artist about sports, modern American heroes and the importance of supporting public art below.

Why did you decide to make this particular moment from the 2016 NBA Finals the subject of your painting, The Block?

Like Elvis or the Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan for the first time, when the culture changed the instant they were broadcast across America, The Block was a moment that changed the history of sports. The Cavaliers and the Warriors were in a deadlock during the last game of the NBA Finals, and LeBron saved the game with one of the most amazing blocks in history. Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala were on a fast break to grab the lead, but then LeBron pinned Iguodala's layup into the backboard. LeBron, a Ohio hometown hero raised in Akron, rose to acclaim playing with the Cavs, and in a highly controversial decision, left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010. However, the prodigal son returned to Cleveland vowing to make them champions, which he achieved with this iconic moment…” (For the full interview and more images, click here)

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