National Building Museum will showcase basketball courts around the world

HOOPS, There It Is

National Building Museum will showcase basketball courts around the world

Just in time for March Madness, the National Building Museum is set to present a photo series documenting private and community basketball courts across the country and abroad. HOOPS, opening on March 9, 2019, will showcase the work of photographer Bill Bamberger and a selection of shots from his 14-year journey searching for one-of-a-kind courts.

Each of Bamberger’s “court portraits” is devoid of people, allowing the viewer to focus on the court’s surrounding context and basketball’s enduring appeal no matter where the game is played. The large-format color photographs show scenes from Arizona to Appalachia, Mexico, and South Africa, and reveal the unique ways in which courts are designed and constructed to tell the story of a particular community.

Bill Bamberger HOOPS
Charter school playground, Harlem, New York; 2007 (Courtesy Bill Bamberger)

Bamberger began the series in 2004 and has since taken nearly 22,000 photographs of courts worldwide. “I never photographed the players, finding that the ‘place’ spoke loudly about its users,” he said in a statement. “I could easily imagine the players, and in some cases I met them. But more often in the stillness of the court—photographed in early morning or late afternoon light—I came to know a great deal about a community, its character, and values.”

HOOPS will be on view at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., through January 5, 2020.