Ohio Wesleyan University’s Ross Art Museum Celebrates Branch Rickey–Jackie Robinson Legacy with Baseball-Themed Exhibit
January 5, 2011
The exhibit honors the legacy and partnership of Branch Rickey, a 1904 OWU graduate, and Jackie Robinson in breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier. It also features 20 photographs from David Levinthal’s “Baseball” book and a selection of stadium photographs from Jim Dow.
The exhibit, “Branch Rickey & Jackie Robinson: A Partnership in Vision and Courage,” will be on display from Jan. 13-Feb. 20 at the Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St. Admission is always free.
“This exhibit is exciting for the breadth of pieces that will be on display,” said Justin Kronewetter, M.F.A., museum director. “It includes letters and contracts signed by Branch Rickey, a replica of his National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum plaque in Cooperstown, and even the second base used by the Cleveland Indians on April 16, 2007—the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first Major League game.”
A highlight of the exhibit will be 20 photographs from Levinthal’s “Baseball” book. The New York-based artist uses toy figurines and meticulously created backdrops to recreate legendary moments in baseball history, such as Jackie Robinson stealing home or Nolan Ryan firing a fastball. Other players represented in Levinthal’s photographs include Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, and Roy Campanella.
Levinthal uses a large format Polaroid 20x24 camera for his unique works. “The large format of the Polaroid camera completely removes the sense of scale from the objects that I am photographing, leaving the viewer without any sense of the actual size of the toy or figure being photographed,” he states. “This further enhances the power of the images and increases their ability to force viewers to rethink and reimagine what toys are perhaps really about.”
From players to stadiums, the Ross Art Museum exhibit also features stadium photographs by Boston-born artist Jim Dow.
Dow creates highly detailed panoramic images using multiple color images captured with an 8x10 camera. The images capture America’s ballparks from a fan’s point of view. “I have an old-fashioned, romantic approach to picture-making and architecture,” Dow states. “But I’m not interested in making specimens; I’m interested in synthesizing an experience.”
Included in the Ohio Wesleyan show are Dow’s visions of stadiums in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and St. Louis.
The “Partnership in Vision and Courage” exhibit also will feature vintage baseball cards and additional memorabilia representing Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson, and their shared legacy. As president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey signed Robinson to a professional contract, effectively breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier. Their shared courage and vision helped to end racial segregation in professional sports and set the stage for the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
The art exhibit is part of a larger Ohio Wesleyan celebration of the Rickey-Robinson legacy. Visit rickeyrobinson.owu.edu for more information about the celebration and free community events.
Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan earned a 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in General Community Service, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.
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