Artistry of Endurance Sports - Clint Thayer Exhibition at National Art Museum of Sport


Photos by Clint Thayer Selected for Exhibit on Racing at National Art Museum of Sport

Madison, WI and Indianapolis, IN – April 25, 2012 – The artistry of endurance sports is featured in a series of fine art photographs by Madison, WI photographer and Focal Flame Photography owner Clint Thayer. The photo essay has been selected for exhibition by the National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) in Indianapolis, IN. The exhibit, entitled Speed and Motion: Racing to the Finish Line, will run at NAMOS from May 23, 2012 through September, 2012. 

“The five images I am showing in this exhibition highlight the artistry of endurance sports, including triathlon, cycling, cyclocross, and swimming,” said Thayer.


“Racing is primal and intense, and I wanted to depict the fear, trepidation, anxiety, tension, and resolution that many endurance athletes experience during a race.”

Thayer is one of seven internationally recognized artists whose work will be displayed. Additional artists include Chris Bucher, Scott Fincher, Sayaka Ganz, Walter Knabe, Thomas Allen Pauly, and Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki

Elizabeth Varner, Executive Director of NAMOS, said, “The exhibit features over 30 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations from many top sport artists worldwide. Representing a wide range of artistic media, Speed and Motion: Racing to the Finish Line captures the heart-pounding drama of racing [in 9 different sports]… we wanted pieces that would capture the power of racing, because everything about racing is larger than life – the crowds, the chaos, the loudness.”


In describing Thayer’s unique approach and perspective, Varner said,  “His work ‘Driving Rain’ was selected for exhibition during a juried 2011 competition [The 2nd Annual International Fine Arts Competition: Commitment to Excellence in Art & Sport]. There was tremendous reaction to ‘Driving Rain’  - just about everyone who saw it stopped in their tracks.”

Varner continued, “I like his photography immensely. I feel he is within the top three sport art photographers I have seen….While Clint Thayer has the technical capacity for conventional sports photographic technique, I think what sets him apart is that his style really crosses the boundary into true sport art. His work is so different; it captures the emotion and intensity of sport. They’re some of the most dynamic images I’ve seen.“


“I think that the power of motion in fine art photography is that it can be a bridge between representational images and abstractions,” said Thayer. “I use motion like I use light: to help frame and sculpt the visual narrative that’s in front of me.” 

Ms. Varner was particularly concerned about selecting artistic works capable of showing well in the expansive exhibition space of the museum. “The exhibition space at NAMOS is really best suited to large format art, and while many photographs are acceptable at small to medium format, not all work well at large format,” said Varner. “I knew from his previous showing that the scale of his pieces would really hit the mark, that it would really transform the exhibition space….When you present a photograph in large format, everything has to be absolutely perfect. I knew Thayer’s work could give that larger-than-life sense to viewers.

Photographer Tom McInvaille, a past special assignment photographer for the United States Olympic Team, said, “Clint Thayer’s sport photography gives a fresh approach to an overly clichéd and highly predictable genre…Clint gives us a glimpse into the larger world of an athletes life.  Putting a Minor White admonition into the world of sports journalism: ‘... show us not the object but what the object represents,’  is courageous and reasonably unique. At a time when simple technical proficiency and overly saturated color seem to be the primary aesthetic principles driving today’s imagery, Clint’s sensitivity to narrative and metaphor is a welcome change.” 

McInvaille concluded, “I’ve had the pleasure of watching Mr. Thayer’s work evolve into easily accessible yet complex stories. This is an attribute found in only the best of photographs, sport or not.”


Founded in 1959, NAMOS maintains one of the largest collections of fine art depicting sport in the United States. The museum is dedicated to encouraging artists engaged in the genre, and also to collect, preserve, and share the best examples of sport art NAMOS can acquire. “The founder of NAMOS, Germain G. Glidden, was a portrait artist and champion squash player,” said NAMOS Executive Director Elizabeth C. Varner. “Glidden believed that sport art is like the Olympics: it has the power to bring together people from all over the world in peace,” said Varner

Over 40 sports are represented in the over 900 paintings, sculptures, and photographs at NAMOS. Artists whose works are included in the permanent collection include George Bellows, Ogden Pliessner, Winslow Homer, Ray Ellis, James Fiorentino, Joe Brown, and Alfred Boucher.

The museum’s first home was in Madison Square Garden in New York. It has been in Indianapolis since 1990 and is located at 850 West Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN. NAMOS is open free to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For group tours and weekend hours call 317.274.3627 or e-mail; for more information see An opening reception for Speed and Motion: Racing to the Finish Line will be held from 5:30-7:30 pm on Wednesday, May 23, 2012. 

The series by Clint Thayer is presented as 60” x 40” limited edition giclée archival prints on canvas, and all of the works are available for purchase. The series was sponsored in part by members of the Trek Midwest Team