Binghamton University Art Museum exhibit explores Cuba’s fascination with baseball

BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton University Art Museum will open its fall exhibition, Baseball in Cuba: A Photographic Essay by Ira Block, along with five other exhibitions, from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, in room 213 of the Fine Arts Building, on campus. The opening reception will feature a short performance of Afro-Cuban folkloric music by the Binghamton University Nukporfe African Dance-Drumming Ensemble at 6 p.m. Block will give a talk in the Main Gallery at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13.  These events are free and open to the public. 

The Main Gallery exhibition, Baseball in Cuba: A Photographic Essay by Ira Block, highlights the work of National Geographic photographer Ira Block, who has visited Cuba over the last three years, taking photos of Cubans enjoying their national sport. Block has captured the extraordinary relationship between the Cuban people and baseball. His photos are a visual tribute to their culture. 

Block is an internationally renowned photojournalist, teacher and workshop leader who has produced over 30 stories for National Geographic Magazine and its affiliates. He began his career as a newspaper photographer, a position that earned him numerous press club awards. His best-known published work to date is Saving America’s Treasures – a collaborative effort between the Clinton White House, the National Geographic Society and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Later, his photographic project Faces of Hope, featuring photographs of survivors and objects retrieved in the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, became part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. 

The exhibition was made possible through the generous support of the Kunis Foundation. Special thanks goes to Gary Kunis ’73 and to the Instituto Nacional de Deportes, Educación Física y Recreación, the Cuban ministry of sports. 

Five other exhibitions will open on September 8. In the Susan M. Reifer ’65 and Stanley J. Reifer ’64 Mezzanine Gallery, the exhibition Shakespeare Posters: The Bard in Bold consists of 23 very large, modern posters designed by international artists. The collection is on loan from designer Mirko Ilić, whose book Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters from Around the Worldwill be available for purchase. Also on view are four exhibitions in the Nancy J. Powell Lower Galleries. Keith Arnatt: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, curated by Alexandra Feim ’15, MA ’16, features photographs recently donated by Distinguished Professor of Art History John Tagg and Luisa Casella. The Wedgwood Revolution was curated by Erin Annis, graduate student in history; Picturing Children at the Turn of the Century was curated by Mariah Postlewait, graduate student in art history, and consists of carte de visite photographs, ambrotypes, and other early photographic media that were recently given to the museum by Gil and Deborah Williams of Binghamton. Finally, The Kabuki Stage in Japanese Woodblock Prints features prints on loan by Binghamton resident Tony Antes and was curated by Lucie Nelson, emeritus curator at the Binghamton University Art Museum. 

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