I’m currently away from my desk, working on a magazine story, so, in lieu of a micro-essay, here is some sports writing I enjoyed this week: “The 2021 French Open Poster Is Gay,” by Andrew Eccles, in Racquet.
In a bold annual tradition dating back to 1980, the French Tennis Federation offers an artist carte blanche to create Roland-Garros’ official poster—a unique reinvention of the identity of the event. In 2021, that honor fell to young figurative painter Jean Claracq. What Claracq unveiled was a poster that the Federation describes as “a singular piece that incorporates one of the most important new features at this year’s tournament: the introduction of night sessions.”
What I saw was something entirely more radical.
What I saw was gay.
The first figure you notice in Claracq’s poster sits alone on the clay of an empty court, Stade Suzanne Lenglen towering behind him. He has removed his shirt and draped it over his shoulders. One leg is outstretched, one hand rests on his forehead. He looks tired. It is nighttime in Paris, and the man is illuminated by floodlights and two large screens.
On one of the screens is a crowd surrounding a victorious player, the only woman on the poster, as she signs autographs. Each member of the crowd is a young man, and though we see the backs of some heads there is a prominent group of eight split into distinct pairs, each leaning intimately into their partner, sharing the screens of their phones as they attempt to snap a photo of their idol. They are all young, and slim, with perfectly styled hair.
These are gay men. This is a gaggle of twinks.
Here’s the link to the article. For tennis or general sports fans out there looking for something smart to read, Racquet is worth the subscription.
Have a good weekend!
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