The artist Christine Sun Kim will sign the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
Carrie Underwood performs the U.S. National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIV, held in Miami in 2010. Photo by TSgt Shelley Gill, via Wikimedia Commons.
Artist Christine Sun Kim will sign the National Anthem at Super Bowl LIV this Sunday, alongside pop singer Demi Lovato, at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. Kim is renowned for her charcoal works on paper, sound installations, and performance works, which question the politics around sound and hearing. Her series “Deaf Rage,” which follows her experiences navigating spaces like restaurants and museums as a Deaf individual, was featured at the 2019 Whitney Biennial while her series “Sound Diet” explores how to raise her hearing daughter in a trilingual household. (Kim was also one of the eight artists who threatened to withdraw their works from the Biennial if Warren Kanders stayed on the museum’s board of trustees; Kanders later stepped down.)
According to the artist, the National Association of the Deaf selects one Deaf person to represent the signing community each year for the Super Bowl, asking selected candidates to audition. In an interview with artnet News, Kim said:
Honestly, I’m not exactly big on watching signed songs or interpreted music. The Deaf community has this amazing group of poets who can really sign with so much rhythm; however, the ones who sign songs written by non-deaf people get so much more attention because that’s the kind of content the hearing world values.
She added that she hopes to bring sign language to millions of homes through the NFL’s platform—100.7 million viewers watched the Super Bowl last year—and use that platform to bring attention to issues facing the Deaf community. Kim said she considers herself pretty patriotic, saying that U.S. disability laws are much stronger than many those of many other countries. As to whether she’s a big sports fan, she said she did gymnastics and swimming growing up, and was a “closeted cheerleader.”
Although contemporary art and professional football may seem to target different audiences, Kim’s involvement isn’t the only recent overlap. Last year, Burger King scored a major touchdown with its oddly zen Super Bowl commercial, starring Andy Warhol.