June 12 – September 12, 2021
Coinciding with the projected opening of the new Polar Park Stadium in spring 2021, a groundbreaking exhibition at WAM will focus on one of the most recognizable garments in American culture: the baseball jersey. Inspired by the move of the Boston Red Sox's Triple-A Affiliate to Worcester, The Iconic Jersey: Baseball x Fashion will feature over 35 historic and contemporary jerseys and baseball-inspired fashion to trace the development, experimentation, and dissemination of the iconic American-style baseball shirt in the sport, on the runway, and in everyday life. Organized by Erin R. Corrales-Diaz, WAM's assistant curator of American art, the exhibition will explore the baseball jersey as an entry point into 170 years of baseball uniforms. Pioneering in its approach, The Iconic Jersey will be the first exhibition solely devoted to the baseball jersey in an art museum.
The Iconic Jersey examines the relationship between aesthetics and athletics, fashion and function, and nostalgia and modernity all through the lens of a singular garment. Clothing is a profoundly personal artform, accessible and intrinsic to our daily lives, and each garment has an aesthetic story to tell. For example, stitched into the bird-on-the-bat logo for Stan Musial's 1952 St. Louis Cardinal's jersey are the efforts of the women employed by R.J. Liebe Lettering Company, who embroidered the elaborate chainstitch by hand until 2003. The Heart Mountain Jersey was a collaborative design project between G Yamazawa and Runaway Clothing to honor the Japanese-American baseball players during World War II internment camps. A head-to-toe sequined Boston Red Sox outfit walked the runway during the Ashish x Major League Baseball 2017 capsule collection, a move the British designer felt brought a message of positivity during a moment of turmoil.
Displayed alongside contextual ephemera of fabric swatch books, logo designs, and historic photographs, these garments demonstrate creativity, craftsmanship, and culture that operate inside and out of the ballpark—and tell a fascinating story about the evolution of one of American's most enduring cultural icons.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support from the Fletcher Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Arthur M. and Martha R. Pappas Foundation, Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, Lunder Foundation-Peter and Paula Lunder family, Murray Family Charitable Foundation, Red Sox Foundation, Larry and Stacey Lucchino, Renee and James Skeffington, Jr., Cynthia L. Strauss and Harry A. Sherr, and an anonymous donor. This project is also funded in part by the Ruth and John Adam, Jr. Exhibition Fund, Heald Curatorial Fund, Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund, Michie Family Curatorial Fund, and Hall and Kate Peterson Fund.
Related exhibition programming is supported by the Burrow Movie Fund, Amelia and Robert H. Haley Memorial Lecture Fund, Bernard G. and Louise B. Palitz Fund, and Spear Fund for Public Programs.
Exhibition sponsored by: Samuel Adams, Country Bank, Gilbane, Gatorade, and Webster Five.
Media Partner: The Boston Globe