Costacos Brothers: The Greatest Sports Posters Ever Made

Salon 94 is pleased to present For the Kids, an exhibition of sports lithographs from the archives of John and Tock Costacos.  Opening on Thursday, June 23rd 2011 at Salon 94 Freemans and curated by Fabienne Stephan and Adam Shopkorn, the show serves as a mini-retrospective of early Costacos posters from 1986 through 1990…

Costacos Brothers, originally a sports t-shirt manufacturer, built a reputation for “fantasy” sports posters that gave professional sports heroes a larger-than-life look and appeal.  Their products captured the imagination of sports fans at a time when athletes were becoming pop stars.  Without a license from professional sports leagues, they were unable to produce game action shots.  Instead, they made personality posters, marrying pop culture to an athlete and his persona.  They understood that at a certain point a player gains a public profile that transcends their team, catapulting them to individual stardom…

Costacos said “We wanted to make the athletes into comic book heroes.  They’re larger than life.  They’re Superman.  They’re Batman. They’re Hollywood action stars that kick the shit out of 20 bad guys always living to fight another day.”  The Costacos signature images, with their campy porno-like titles, are at once commando-kitsch and aspirational.  Nike’s posters used similar players to similar ends, helping athletes like George “Iceman” Gervin and Darrell “Dr. Dunkenstein” Griffith achieve iconic pop status.

Koons’s Duchampian gesture brings a media phenomenon into the gallery space, highlighting its cultural relevance.  The roles played by the athletes in the Nike ads were those typically associated with power,  standing in contrast to a social system that traditionally denied power to African-Americans. Salon 94 Freemans, is located at 1 Freeman Alley, New York, NY 10002. The gallery is open Tuesday 1:00-6:00, and Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00-6:00. For further information please call (212) 529-7400 or email [email protected].

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the Costacos Brothers posters. They defined my childhood. You couldn’t see the walls of my bedroom because I had some many on the walls. To this day, I have that Bo Jackson Black and Blue poster in a frame up in my garage. I’m so pissed that I won’t be in New York tomorrow to check out this gallery. Well, the next best thing is see some of the posters that will be on display there. Here are some of their iconic posters, in no particular order. Just scroll and smile. Cheers to you Salon 94, and long live the Costacos Brothers sports posters.

Have a favorite poster? How ’bout a favorite one to mock? Why? Do tell. Couple things. I can’t tell you how badly I want Eric Davis’ giant gun with baseballs in the chamber. Still can’t believe they made a Jim Everett poster. Too funny.

-bp

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14 Responses to Costacos Brothers: The Greatest Sports Posters Ever Made

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  2. Gary Gray says:

    How can I get the Chicago Bulls: Running of the Bulls featuring Jordan, Pippin, and Rodman?

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  4. Keith says:

    There was a poster of Ronnie Lott I had as a kid (although I’m not sure if it was a Costacos Brothers poster), it said: Ronnie Lott “The Hit Man”.

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  6. The Clubhouse says:

    We purchased your posters many years ago ….and are interested in selling posters again…..do you have new sports posters as well as the vintage ones? let me know Regards Lou Torti

  7. Andy says:

    Do you know of anywhere a guy could purchase a couple of these posters?

  8. ESome1980 says:

    this is still my favorite post on your website..I have looked at it several times, but now just getting to leave a comment. I loved these posters as a kid in the 80′s..I have the Griffey’s poster, since I live in Washington, and I had a Kevin Mitchell one that was made after he signed with the mariners for 1 season after his mvp season with the giants..

  9. [email protected] hutch says:

    My teacher has the land of biz poster in his class room. It’s one of my favorite posters of all time!

  10. John Lyons says:

    Have 12 mad max plus I’m sitting on 35, 000 from 1986to 1996 before you sold to nike in 1996 my dad pasted he was in to the posters.Now how would I sell them they beem stored for6years since I’ve have them.he stored them before he died for14 years.Have over 280 different costacos bro posters a lot of them from the 80′s.What do I do

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