R.B. Kitaj, an American expatriate and grandson of Russian-Jewish immigrants, was a passionate baseball fan. In his work Amerika (Baseball), he used the motif of the sport to explore his connection to America and highlight its significance as a symbol of national identity. The painting is an all-over picture in which no element matters more than another, embodying both Pop art and Abstract Expressionist principles that Kitaj blended together.
Using expressive, figurative works, Kitaj examined themes of attachment, estrangement, and diaspora throughout his career. He merged the collage techniques of Pop Art with the agitated brushstrokes of Abstract Expressionism in Amerika (Baseball). The artwork reflects on Kitaj’s childhood memories associated with baseball and what it means to him as an American artist living abroad.
While not much else is known about Amerika (Baseball), it speaks volumes on Kitaj as an artist exploring issues related to identity through his artistic expression. It shows how sports can serve as a powerful metaphor for one’s connection to their home country while demonstrating the blending of different artistic movements into a cohesive piece by an accomplished artist like R.B. Kitaj.