SAKOGUCHI ON SAKOGUCHI

    The makers of this poignant mini-documentary about iconoclastic painter Ben Sakoguchi, whose "Unauthorized History of Baseball" is but one of many "orange crate label" series that he has produced in a startling display of focused artistic energy, didn't see fit to bring baseball into the narrative, but as Sakoguchi talks about his life and art (a most welcome first) you can see a generous array of the baseball paintings in the right corner of the frame...



    The occasion for the video is Sakoguchi's inclusion in the Japanese-American National Museum's ongoing series, Drawing the Line: Japanese Art, Design, and Activism in Post-War Los Angeles, which is featured at their Little Tokyo-based facility just east of downtown L.A. For more information about the exhibit, which is part of the expertly coordinated Pacific Standard Time cluster of exhibitions that have been running throughout Los Angeles since October, please visit their web site. The Drawing the Line exhibition continues through February 19th.

    Ben Sakoguchi today...
    The only problem with Sakoguchi's video is that it is much, much too short. The filmmakers do a wonderful job of capturing the essence of Ben's unique personality, and the story they are able to tell in just over four minutes is affecting, but more time with his prolific, often outrageous, consistently challenging and thought-provoking work is what the viewer will want after such a tantalizing glimpse. (A half-hour or hour documentary is what's needed: let's hope that it will happen--soon.)

    Ben "back in the day"...
    You can take a self-guided tour of Sakoguchi's work at his web site, lovingly maintained by his wife Jan, who is also the very principled portal through which prospective buyers of Ben's work must pass. [Full disclosure: we are pleased and honored to have somehow slipped through the cracks in her radar to have become a proud owner of several "Unauthorized History of Baseball" paintings.]

    Such a tour, which will remind you of Ben's fruitful association with the Baseball Reliquary, will also demonstrate to you how much more there is to his work than baseball.

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