Yesterday we shared the fantastic CAFAM solo show Ehren Tool’s Production Or Destruction but we actually got to catch another show that opens at the same time: Baseball: The All-American Game. The show is a work of passion and American folk art: all of the pieces in the show are part of a collection from a man that we assume is the nation’s biggest baseball fan, Gary Cypres.
The show sees various baseball memorabilia from the start of organized teams in America through the eighties and traces the art and cultural creations surrounding the sport. You have giant signs promoting sports and cigarettes, you have chairs made out of baseball bats, you have baseball toss carnival games, and even a violin case with player trying to steal a base: baseball and craft are tied hand and hand. And, as you can tell, the way these handcrafts and professional crafts manifest themselves run the artistic gamut from paintings to quilts to toys to embellished equipment.
Cypres’ collection is not only an emblem of passion of an individual but also a passion of Americans for a sporting activity, their fandom for it so great that they had to create art around it. It also highlights the relationship baseball has to other things like games in general and, you know, tobacco, which kept popping up all over the place. The biggest thing the show points to are that these older, mostly pre-mid-century items are so charming and unique and of a different time period: do Americans today have passion for such a thing? Will there be handmade constructions of passion toward anything today that we will share in the future and that people will collect? Are websites are new handcraft? I’m unsure–but hopeful for an answer!
It’s a good, quick little show that is very, very full. Walking through the entire time I kept thinking that this is likely the only art show I could bring my father to that he would really, really enjoy. So, if you have your parents in town for Fathers Day or know a man that wants to see some good art, take a day trip to the Craft and Folk Art Museum on Wilshire for a great double-billing of shows perfect for dads!