Vernon Fisher's Baseball Cap is an overlay of a typewritten text on two nearly identical photographic images of a teen-age baseball player. In casual language, the artist speaks of his earlier wish to finish the work of art we now see completed. He thought that making a baseball uniform would be a fine solution. He finds some pants and a top, even a yellow star to stitch on a wool baseball cap. He can't find a cap. He looks everywhere but can only find shoe stores. He is reminded of a story told by a Zen Master who posed a problem to his disciples. Only one of them could solve it by putting a shoe on his head. Fisher ends his story by bemoaning the fact that it is difficult for him "to get things right" without getting distracted.
Fisher loves to explore the nature of storytelling in his art. Here he has a story-within-a-story about solving problems and making art. We follow his two stories while trying to relate them and also to link them to the two photographs. We see in one the baseball uniform with only the cap missing. Like the Zen Master's disciple, however, Fisher solves his artistic problem by placing a shoe with a yellow star on his baseball player's head. The stories are told, the work of art completed, and we are left, as with a Zen riddle, with the mystery and absurdity of the world.
Vernon Fisher, Baseball Cap, 1978, photograph, 2 panels each 22 5/8 x 20 inches. Collection of Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Purchase, through National Endowment for the Arts grant with matching funds from Mr. and Mrs. Walter Frautschi and Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wolman. 81.0.26 © Vernon Fisher, Courtesy Charles Cowles Gallery, New York.
Vernon Fisher. Photograph by J R Compton. Courtesy DallasArtsRevue.com.