The George Krevsky Gallery’s pre-season exhibition, The Fine Art of Baseball: 14th Annual, will undoubtedly hit the sweet spot for orange-clad sports fans as well as the black-clad art crowd, examining “the highs and lows of the great American pastime” with fifty-four drawings, paintings, and sculptures by thirty-three artists.
Baseball’s “high” side of heroic myth and history, and its “low” side of industry, exploitation and fatal celebrity are both represented. The sport remains depicted as the colorful spectacle of virtuosic play, even with its imperfections. Rooters for the home team will delight in paintings of Bumgarner, Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Wilson, Marichal, Mays, and McCovey. However, critics of Major League Baseball will appreciate Eduardo Gomez’s drawings, examining the game as a social and financial ladder for immigrants, and a global business for team owners, broadcasters, and investors.
The “highs” abound with colorful scenes, the accouterments of baseball, and the pride in player’s prowess. Louis Grant’s Caught Dreaming, is a stylized, nostalgic view of baseball color and form caught at the perfect instant. Steven Hughes’ mixed-media piece, Mr. Sabathia Goes to New York, captures the Vallejo-born pitcher as a happy, wealthy Yankee colossus striding through too-small Manhattan streets. Ken Kalman’s copper sculpture of a vintage 1950’s mitt and tabletop replica of AT&T Ballpark are playful and well crafted. Margie Lawrence’s mixed-media painting on paper, Baseball Gothic, is reminiscent of Regionalist Grant Wood’s American Gothic, and Arthur K. Miller’s painting of Buster Posey, immortalizes the rookie catcher as pensive hero, a modern David or Perseus.
The exhibition continues with dramatic moments--Lance Richbourg’s oil, Mickey Mantle Drag Bunt, a realistic yet dramatic study of athletic skill, reminiscent of Thomas Eakins’ paintings of dedication and perseverance. And, even darker in mood, but brighter in execution is Grant Smith’s painting, I’ll Love You Until The Day You Die, a depiction of demented fan, Ruth Ann Swenson, who, obsessed with Phillies player Eddie Waitkus, shot him, nearly fatally, a lurid episode transformed by Bernard Malamud for his novel, The Natural. Seeing the show, one may be moved to don Libby Black’s mixed media Chanel catcher’s gear, or better yet head out to visit a favorite museum to enjoy another National Pastime.
Artists from the Bay Area and across the country capture the highs and lows of the Great American Pastime. Paintings, drawings, photography, and sculpture by, Stacey Carter, Dave Eggers, Barry Gifford, Louis Grant, Charles Hobson, Andy Jurinko, Ken Kalman, Robert Marosi Bustamante, Max Mason, Arthur K. Miller, Richard Nagler, and Lance Richbourg, among others.
This exhibition hits the sweet spot for orange-clad sports fans as well as the black-clad art crowd. ...the "high" side of heroic myth and history... the "low" side of baseball as industry, exploitation, and fatal celebrity. ...artists depicting the sport as the colorful spectacle of virtuosic play.
Winning is not everything. Baseball--its beauty, its craftsmanship, its exactingness--is an activity to be loved, as much as ballet or fishing or politics, and loving it is a form of participation.
-George F. Will
For me, Ted Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill.