League of F.A.M.E. Crowns San Francisco's Greatest Art Enthusiasts

No Joke

It's a strange thing when the worlds of fantasy sports and fine arts collide, but as League of F.A.M.E. — or Fantasy Art Market Enthusiasts — shows us, it's a much more harmonious combination than you might expect. The finale of the second iteration of F.A.M.E. took place at the Tenderloin's pop-up SFAQ venue, and featured an appropriate amount of booze, punk music, and jokes that art historians would approve of — just like in sports.

[jump] When entering the space, patrons were greeted with a large sheet of butcher paper tacked to the wall. On it, the names of the ten teams (such as “Video Killed The Radio Star” and “Rrose Sélavy”) were unceremoniously scrawled alongside their ten “draft picks.”  

“They are allowed to pick anyone they want,” explains artist Tim Sullivan, who along with artist Josh Pieper organizes the event. “But if any of their picks are questionable — Jay-Z, Disney, Bjork — it has to go to a league vote. For instance, Walt Disney was allowed, but Jay-Z and George W. Bush were not.”

So in place of Bush and his oil paintings of cats and Putin, were artists with actual beating human hearts, ranging from Pablo Picasso, to Marcel Duchamp, to Miranda July.

“Since there aren't tallied statistics like in Fantasy Baseball or Fantasy Football, Josh and I have to count them ourselves,” said Sullivan.

The categories vary from week to week. So while “Hashtag Week” might favor some very current contemporary artists, “Sunday Papers Week” might give a different type of artist a leg up.

“The participants choose five artists from their roster that would best fit that week and we count the artists' performance. For instance, in “Artforum Ads Week” we count the number of times the artist's name is mentioned in Artforum ads. In “eBay Auction Week” we calculate the price of sold merchandise by that artist in a week. So where Walt Disney would be huge in eBay Week, he would fail in Artforum Week.”

The totals from all of the weeks are added together to determine a champion. This season, it was Luca Antonucci and David Kasprzak of Team Colpa and their impressive roster of Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Stan Lee, Sol Lewitt, Pierre Hyughe, Chris Wool, Miley Cyrus, Lawrence Weiner, Amalia Pica, and Bean Gilsdof.

The prize? Aside from the title of 2015 League of F.A.M.E. Champions and the obvious lifetime of bragging rights that that entails, the winning team received a trophy made up of a plate depicting Yoko Ono's face tacked to a wooden support that had to be held just so in order to stay together. And in the most respectful way possible, this janky little trophy kind of summed up the event: Everyone seemed to be on great terms; beer, hugs, and the occasional jesting insult were commonplace; and the crowd was intelligent, yet laid-back. So if it's an uptight fine arts experience you want, look someplace else. If a great time, good company, and a weird Yoko Ono trophy is what you seek, stay tuned for the next round of League of F.A.M.E.

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