Empire and Objecthood The Baseball Paintings of Mark Chiarello
by James Brunson
This article examines Mark Chiarello's baseball paintings, which have a deep connection with the rhetoric of empire and colonization. This paper argues that during the 1980s and 1990s baseball objects (art and non-art) were forged in a colonial encounter, with the beholder as an imperial, imperious consciousness, capable of surveying and ordering the entire object world. Chiarello's paintings belong to a "baseball order of things" (a phrase inspired by Michel Foucault's "order of things"), an epistemic field that produces a sense of the kinds of objects, the logic of their speciation, and their taxonomy. Of interest are not only the ways that baseball objects are catalogued, preserved and arranged in rational order but how acts of judgment and dialectics of taste constitute black images.