On his days off, Art Director Richard Gangel likes to retreat into the rustic studio barn next to his home in Weston, Conn. and work on a new process of his own invention, one in which he coats sheets of anodized aluminum with the gaudiest of acrylic lacquers. We hope the technique sooner or later shows up in these pages. Not long ago Gangel developed a way to superimpose photos and drawings on aluminum-based silk screens. The process impressed Artist Edward Kasper, who adapted it when Gangel assigned him to illustrate an article on hydroplane racer Bill Muncey (SI, May 14).
By such innovative means does Gangel help preserve the place of art in sports journalism, a field otherwise dominated by photography, on TV as well as on the printed page. But those who think the second word in our magazine's name refers to photography alone might like to know that since the beginning of the year Gangers department has made 197 separate art assignments, from the very small to the very large. The major exhibit in this issue is Thomas B. Allen's set of watercolor sketches that accompany Bob Jones' elk-hunt story beginning on page 86.
Gangel believes that the artist's vision complements rather than competes with the photographer's. "Art provides a counterpoint," he says, "a more personal side. It enables us to look at old friends in a fresh way, the old friends being baseball, football and the rest."
Besides coordinating the magazine's typography, illustration and layout into an esthetic whole, Gangel works with outside artists, occasionally enduring crises of the kind that ensued when he dispatched Pop Artist Jim Rosenquist to the Daytona 500. When Rosenquist's paintings failed to show up, Gangel learned that the artist had absentmindedly sent them to Manhattan's Whitney Museum, where the best of the Daytona canvases had promptly been put on display. But at least the job was completed on time, which is not always the case. Gangel recently received a packet of drawings from French satirist Jean-Jacques Semp�.
"I'd asked Semp� to do some funny sketches on cross-country running about three years ago," he says. "Frankly I'd forgotten all about it. But it was worth the wait. The drawings are very good."
Gangel is better able to deal with such artistic temperament because he is a bit unorthodox himself. His quest for fresh insights once inspired him to ask English Cartoonist Ronald Searle, who had never seen a baseball game, to cover spring training. Less fruitful was his notion of sending art forger David Stein, whose counterfeit works had stung some leading U.S. collectors, to paint Florida racetrack scenes a la French Painter Raoul Dufy.
Gangel intended to credit the paintings forthrightly as being "By David Stein in the style of Raoul Dufy," but when word of the project got around, he began to hear protests from a number of art dealers, who feared that the exercise would glorify the man who had embarrassed so many of them. The paintings never ran, but for reasons scarcely calculated to please the art dealers. "Stein's work didn't look much like Dufy," Gangel says, adding pointedly, "I don't see how his forgeries could have fooled anybody."