Starting today, Salon 94 Freemans, an art gallery in New York, is hosting an exhibit called “For the Kids” that will feature the fantastic posters of the Costacos Brothers from the days when athletes would agree to be photographed for posters like the ones you see above. I don’t want to sound presumptuous, but this might be the best and most important art exhibit since “New Paintings of Common Objects.”

From a press release:

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.

OK, sure. Whatever the reasons, the posters came out awesome. I mean, just look at them. They’re amazing. So, if you’re in or about NYC any time from today until July 30, go check this out. You won’t get to see this many fantastically cheesy posters in one place unless you live in 1989.

A few more after the jump.