In 1977, the City of Milwaukee took a substantial creative risk by hiring famed pop artist Robert Indiana to paint the basketball floor at MECCA Arena. Amid skepticism and controversy, the world of arts and sports converged and the MECCA floor went on to be recognized as the world’s largest pop art painting. The new floor catapulted Milwaukee as a forward-thinking, art-conscious city and ushered in a basketball golden age for the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette University.
Fast forward 35 years. While the MECCA era came to an untimely end in the late 1980’s when the Bucks moved over to the BMO Harris Bradley Center, its legacy lived on in the hearts of a select few Milwaukee residents. This group, after seeing the floor for sale on an architectural salvage site, bid thousands of dollars to save it. Now, they are giving the nation a new opportunity to see it up close.
Beginning this fall, the fully-painted, 40,000 lb. portable floor will be converted into an interactive, modular sculpture. It will kick off with a prominent display at Milwaukee's City Hall before traveling to dozens of stops across the country through 2015. Milwaukee will commemorated this next phase of the MECCA floor by assembling it in its original form as a basketball floor, in its original home, on Friday, August 23.