Thursday, March 27, 2008

Art of the Diamond

I love stuff like this:
For decades photographer George Brace documented the Chicago Cubs in pictures and earned visiting players' trust, capturing images of baseball greats huddling with young fans and hanging out with teammates.

Brace's collection is still under his family's ownership, but several black-and-white prints from the original negatives are now the property of Appleton Art Center in downtown Appleton. They'll be on display when the center's new exhibit, "Art of the Diamond: Baseball," opens April 3 as a visual timeline of baseball in the United States from the late 19th century through the present day. . .

. . . Brace captured rare on-the-field yet off-the-field moments, those in-between-play pockets of time when players could relax and let their personalities shine through. Visitors to the exhibit will see New York Yankees player Babe Ruth with his arm around the shoulder of a Chicago Cubs batboy. They'll also find a shot of New York Yankees players at the 1938 World Series in a lineup, posing with their baseball bats as though they held rifles.

This is the sort of thing I'd go see if I were able to write for a living. I love road trips, even when they seem at first glance to be putatively boring drives. Appleton is like 550 miles from me. I'd take one day to meander up to Appleton and blog from the hotel room that night. The next day I'd go see the exhibit and wander around Appleton just to say I've been there (putatively boring cities are often the most fun to explore), and blog some more that evening. Next day I'd drive back a different route. On day four I'd write about 4300 words about the trip and the exhibit. In other words, it would be fabulous.

Sure, after three or four of these kinds of jaunts my wife would file for divorce, but every artist suffers for his work, right?


Anonymous said...

Don't rain down too hard on Appleton or you'll lose one of your 10 readers, ha. Between Simmons' references, a story of a guy peeing on the police station lawn and now this I like the attention the old hometown is getting. Good times! Although as a Cub fan disappointed I don't live there anymore to see the exhibit.

Craig's Wife said...

Craig, if I haven't divorced you by now, you're probably safe.

tim riley said...

I’ve been enjoying your blog, for which thanks.

If you are considering a trip to Appleton, give some serious thought to coming on Thursday, April 17. That evening (7pm), Appleton Art Center, in conjunction with our Art of the Diamond: Baseball exhibition, is hosting a panel discussion--inspired by the Brace Photo--on art and baseball.

The distinguished panel includes Lawrence University jazz professor, Fred Sturm, a long suffering Cubs fan who happens to be the artistic director of the nation-wide hit, The Baseball Music Project. See The Music Project comes Appleton, with narrator Dave Winfield in tow, on May 3. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On Thursday’s panel, we also have Jerald Podair, who just finished a book about Walter O’Malley, to be published by Princeton U. Press any day now.

Then, of course, there is the all-star panelist—Appleton’s own, Tony Kubek. With us will be Kubek, the 1957 AL Rookie of the Year and member of six World Series Yankee squads (not to mention his great career as a terrific broadcaster for NBC’s Game of the Week). Tony has lent several items from his personal collection to the exhibition. The highlights are his mom’s scrapbooks detailing his father’s (Tony Kubek, Sr.) time with the 1920s and 1930s minor league team, the Milwaukee Brewers (the minor league club was known as “The Brew” back in the day).

Kubek (Jr.) is pals with an amateur baseball player, big fan of the game, and brilliant singer, Steve March Torme (son of Mel Torme). Steve will be with us to share his thoughts on art, music, and baseball on Thursday. Steve lives here, too.

All this to say, a trip to Appleton is worth putting 550 miles on your car (or it is a quick flight). You can even visit the field where A-Rod, when a minor league standout for the Appleton Foxes, played ball.
Hope to see you soon,

Tim Riley, Executive Director
Appleton Art Center

P.S. Art of the Diamond: Baseball runs through May 27, when the NCAA division III Championship series will be played… in Appleton.