Gordon carefully paired complementary pieces from different mediums. Diamonds Are Forever opens with a quote from author Lesley Hazleton about "the perfect greenness" of the first baseball field she ever saw, coupled with painter Ralph Fasanella's tableau of Yankee Stadium. In the closing section, Walter Iooss Jr.'s photographs of elderly softball players and Little Leaguers are wedded to Garrison Keillor's essay, "Attitude." And in between there's a real gem: Jim Dows photos of the minor league parks in Charlotte and Durham. N.C., melding with "Spring Training in the Mountains," a Vincent Scilla oil of an outfielder performing before an American Beauty Creamery Butter sign.
"If you've ever been to a minor league ballpark, that's what you see: advertising on the fences, and trees and hills beyond," says Scilla, 38. "I like advertising on fences. When I was a kid, I made parks out of erector sets, tore labels off cartons and put them on the walls. In the minors you could always tell where you'd been by the products they were selling."
A 168-page Diamonds Are Forever catalog is available (Chronicle Books, $35 hardcover, $18.95 paperback). The exhibit includes a smattering of other art forms: a baseball-card exhibit, an audio of baseball music, a clip of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" and several film segments. Organized with assistance from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and underwritten by American Express, the exhibit will tour to the Norton Gallery of Arts in West Palm Beach, Fla. (winter 1988); the Museum of Art and History in San Juan (spring 1988); the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center (summer 1988); the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City (fall 1988); the Baltimore Museum of Art (spring 1989); the Chicago Public Library and Cultural Center (summer 1989): the Oakland ( Calif.) Museum (fall-winter 1989) and the New York Public Library (spring 1990).