Baseball and American Culture

April 3–30, 2006

MoMA

Baseball is neither a metaphor for life nor the quintessential emblem of American culture. And while film has often been employed to place baseball in the larger context of American character, it too cannot be the last word in interpreting the sport for America and the world. But the marriage of baseball and film has produced some wonderful moments. This retrospective attempts to explore the baseball movie and how it has defined the way Americans view the game and their own relationship—in terms of class, race, and gender in particular—to the great American pastime. In addition, as much of the currency of cinema lies in mythmaking, this series presents some truly fantastic characters, from the real-life Babe Ruth to a figment of Bernard Malamud’s imagination.

Organized by Dr. Carl E. Prince, former chairman of the History Department at New York University and author of Brooklyn’s Dodgers: The Bums, The Borough, and the Best of Baseball; and Charles Silver, Associate Curator, Department of Film and Media. Thanks to Sony Pictures Entertainment, MCA/ Universal, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Spike TV, and Dr. Andrew Cooper.

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