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The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.


The Baseball Reliquary Presents
Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer

Exhibition: February 4-March 29, 2012
Location: West Covina Library
Address: 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California
Information: (626) 791-7647 or terymar@earthlink.net

            The Baseball Reliquary launches its 2012 season by presenting an exhibition, Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer, from February 4-March 29, 2012 at the West Covina Library, 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California.
           
For his L.A. Blue Bum series of paintings, artist Stephen Seemayer resurrected a character from the past, the Brooklyn Bum, the brilliant creation of the late sports cartoonist Willard Mullin.  While working for the New York World-Telegram in the 1930s, Mullin introduced the Bum, which provided an instant identity to the Dodgers and the entire borough of Brooklyn, a symbol which would endure through times of heartbreak and triumph.  A tattered tramp with a four-day growth of beard, patched clothing, and flapping soles, chewing on a cigar stub and mangling the English language, the Bum would appear in some 2,000 Willard Mullin drawings, right up to the Dodgers’ controversial departure to the West Coast in 1958.
           
Using actor Joe Walters as his model, Seemayer decided to resurrect Mullin’s Bum in a series of 2011 paintings, trading in the old neighborhood in Brooklyn for the bright lights and glamour of Los Angeles.  Seemayer’s contemporary reincarnation sardonically opines on the current travails of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have struggled on and off the field under the divorce and financial mismanagement of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.  The L.A. Blue Bum, according to Seemayer, “roots for the boys in the Ravine while at the same time commenting with sometimes scathing candor on their follies and triumphs.  But just as baseball, as American as apple pie, has an ugly underbelly of drug use and greed, underlying the L.A. Blue Bum paintings are observations on the darker aspects of contemporary American society.”
           
The exhibition features a selection from the 58 L.A. Blue Bum paintings, and related documentation, completed by Seemayer during the 2011 baseball season, many of which were originally displayed in his front yard in Echo Park, to be viewed by drivers and passersby on their way to Dodger Stadium.  In contrast to Mullin’s often stark pen-and-ink drawings on illustration board, Seemayer’s paintings are densely layered with image and text, and utilize aerosol enamel, latex, and photo collage on masonite.  The paintings can also be viewed at the artist’s Web site at www.labluebum.com.
           
Stephen Seemayer is a Los Angeles-based performance artist, filmmaker, and painter.  In a career spanning more than 30 years, he has been featured in performances and exhibitions at galleries and museums across the United States, including the Donnelly Gallery in Boston; WPA Gallery and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; Scottsdale Center for the Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona; de Young Museum in San Francisco; San Diego State University Art Gallery; Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the 18th Street Arts Complex in Santa Monica.
           
Library hours for the exhibition are Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 pm; Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; closed Monday, Friday, and Sunday.  For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.  For directions, phone the West Covina Library at (626) 962-3541 during library hours.  The exhibition is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

“The Last Day of This World?” by Stephen Seemayer (24” x 24,” aerosol enamel, latex, and photo collage on wood panel)

“The Last Day of This World?” by Stephen Seemayer (24” x 24,” aerosol enamel, latex, and photo collage on wood panel). Created for Dodgers/Padres series of September 23-25, 2011. On display in the exhibition, Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer.

SPECIAL PROGRAM:
Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer
Reception & Video Presentation
Saturday, February 18, 3:00 p.m.
West Covina Library, 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California

            In conjunction with its exhibition, Occupy Chavez Ravine: The “Blue Bum” Paintings of Stephen Seemayer, the Baseball Reliquary presents a reception for the artist on Saturday, February 18, at 3:00 p.m., at the West Covina Library, 1601 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, California.  Stephen Seemayer will discuss the legacy of sports cartoonist Willard Mullin, who provided inspiration for his L.A. Blue Bum series, and will introduce a screening of a video documenting all 58 Blue Bum paintings completed in 2011.
           
The program is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.


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