A sneak peek at the exhibit layout of "The Mecca" floor on Aug. 23.
A sneak peek at the exhibit layout of "The Mecca" floor on Aug. 23. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)
Organizer Andrew Gorzalski.
Organizer Andrew Gorzalski. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)
The historic hard wood.
The historic hard wood. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)
The Bucks first home court.
The Bucks first home court. (Photo: Our Mecca Group | Facebook)

Robert Indiana's "MECCA" basketball court comes back to life

Art can move a person. So can sports. Milwaukee put the two together when Robert Indiana (famous for the "LOVE" postage stamp) was commissioned in 1977 to design the floor of the Milwaukee Bucks arena that was a part of the old MECCA (Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena).

The famous and still loved court was rendered obsolete in 1988 when the Bucks moved to the Bradley Center. It was disassembled and stashed away.

Sure, some high school and college games were played on it through the years, but it was never the same. Or so I've heard. And, as someone who is still a relatively new Milwaukeean, it's the one piece of art I've heard most about. Yes, that even includes the great pieces in and around the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Now, you can see it once again, or for the first time, on Aug. 23 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Arena thanks to Andrew Gorzalski, a producer at Cramer-Krasselt and passionate Bucks fan, Ben Koller and several area arts groups. 

Gorzalski and Koller will curate an exhibit of Indiana's MECCA, along with pieces from other artists (including live art by Dwellephant) and music from Andy Noble and Kid Millions. Reginald Baylor also will debut new work that is somewhat MECCA inspired.

Photography and access to the floor will be permitted.

The MECCA floor is the oldest portable basketball floor in existence, originally created in 1954 for the Milwaukee Hawks (now Atlanta), 23 years prior to Indiana painting the floor. The history of nearly the entire NBA has run up and down the floor, from Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell to Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. It was also the floor for Dr. J's final NBA game. 

This will be a truly unique event, purely Milwaukee, and one worth being a part of. 

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