An interview with Ian Lewandowski about FANTASY TEAM for Packet Biweekly.

FANTASY TEAM is an ongoing body of work that deals with the queer ramifications of collecting sports memorabilia, and the relation of a queer spectator to the sport world (a predominantly heterosexual pastime that drives the queer viewer into a realm of unthinkability).

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Extended Statement:

In John Bloom’s A House of Cards, the author noticed a peculiar trend among adult card collectors when describing the history of their collecting practices. Many characterized their baseball cards, and their hobby, as retreating “into the closet” during their teenage years - literally and metaphorically. Avoiding the social stigma accompanying their interest in “kid’s stuff,” these men continued to acquire in secrecy. This admission led many familiar with the hobby, and to the men themselves, to identify as “closet collectors.” Bloom, associating the image of the “closet” with homosexual subculture, brings up an interesting point near the end of his book. He states,

“Perhaps the parallel to a metaphor for secret homosexuality is appropriate. Collecting may have allowed some boys to explore homoerotic desires, and to fantasize about masculine heroism and strength, without facing the peer condemnation that goes along with homosexuality in high school settings...Baseball cards allow teenage boys a way to stare at men in private spaces without the fear of being caught.”

As a gay man raised by an avid sports collector, my relationship with professional sports growing up was complicated. Recently, I've begun to re-evaluate that relationship and have started to collect based on my own queer sensibilities. With the work in Fantasy Team, I utilize common memorabilia objects and reinterpret their intended meanings and uses. In doing so, I look at the differences and similarities between my dad's collecting practice and my own.

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<em>("Prejudice Just Won Out")</em>