Mecca Floor

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Removed in 1988

The Disappointed Tourist: Mecca Floor, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Originally known as the Milwaukee Arena, the MECCA arena opened in 1950 and was one of the first arenas to accommodate the needs of broadcast television. It became a part of MECCA (The Milwaukee Exposition, Convention Center and Arena) from1974 until 1995. It was home to the Milwaukee Hawks from 1951 to 1955 and the NBA Milwaukee Bucks from 1968 to 1988, before they moved to the then new BMO Harris Bradley Center. The arena was famous for its unique basketball court painted by artist Robert Indiana in 1978, the world’s largest Pop Art painting. The Indiana floor was purchased by a fan in the early 2010s and is currently in storage. A commemorative game to celebrate the Milwaukee Bucks’ 50 years in the NBA was played between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics using a replica of the Indiana floor. The arena is currently known as the UW-Milwaukee Panther arena and is the home of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Panthers. The painting is based on a photograph by Rick Wood from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal.

I chose Mecca because it loomed large in my memory, with a design that still seems unique. Robert C.