Artists and writers show their appreciation of baseball

The art of baseball is the subject of an innovative traveling exhibit, ``Diamonds Are Forever: Artists and Writers on Baseball,'' continuing its tour of the United States through the spring of 1990. The show includes 100 works by artists, from Claes Oldenburg (``Mitt'') to Elaine de Kooning (``Campy at the Bat'') to Andy Warhol (``Pete Rose''), juxtaposed with quotations from the works of writers as varied as Philip Roth, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Roger Angell, and Thomas Wolfe.

As Wolfe rhapsodically put it, ``And is there anything that can tell more about an American summer than, say, the smell of the wooden bleachers in a small-town baseball park, that resinous, sultry, and exciting smell of old dry wood?'' The show was put together by the New York State Museum in Albany in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Remaining tour stops include the Museum of Art and History, San Juan, Puerto Rico (through June 12); the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, (July 2-Aug. 21); the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City (Sept. 10-Oct. 30); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Jan. 15- April 9, 1989); Baltimore Museum of Art (May 13-June 25, 1989); Chicago Public Library (July 8-Sept. 9), Oakland (Calif.); Museum of Art (Sept. 30, 1989-Jan. 7, 1990), and finally to the New York Public Library (Feb. 3-April 15, 1990.)

The show's curator, Peter Gordon, wrote in explaining the show: ``Artists take experiences that many of us have and transform them into something new. They have the rare ability to make the ordinary extraordinary; that rare ability to help us see the experience with `new eyes.' So that the next time we step out from the walkway to our seats at Yankee Stadium, it looks to us `just like that Fasanella painting' and like writer Lesley Hazleton, we `gasp at the perfect greenness of it.' Their art becomes a part of us, a part of our experience.''

Among the other artists included are Raoul Dufy, Red Grooms, Robert Rauschenberg, and Alex Katz. Among the writers are John Updike, Bernard Malamud, William Kennedy, and Neil Simon.

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