FW: [AlabamaFolklife] Revised exhibition dates for Quilts of Gee' s Bend
From: Brackner, Joey [mailto:Joey@...]
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2003 9:42 AM
To: 'AlabamaFolklife'; Arts -- Everyone
Subject: [AlabamaFolklife] Revised exhibition dates for Quilts of Gee's Bend
This is just in, fyi:
Media Contact: Mittie Rhodes, Information Clerk
Mobile Museum of Art
4850 Museum Drive
Mobile, Alabama 36608
(251) 208-5200; fax (251) 208-5201
THE QUILTS OF GEE'S BEND
June 16 - August 31, 2003
Written by Sarah Teague
That's how the quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama, describe the handiwork and
design of the 70 quilts that go on display at the Mobile Museum of Art in
Langan Park from June 14 to August 31.
Forty-five quilters, all 20th Century artists, spent years quilting "my
way." Their designs are not the traditional "Wedding Ring," "Sweetpea"
designs, but are more abstract, with bold command of fabric placement.
Noted art critic Michael Kimmelman in a New York Times article called the
quilts "some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has
Fabrics are for the most part what the quilters found around their homes -
corduroy, wool, printed terry cloth, synthetic blends, denim. The quilters
tended to work alone, revealing the combination of introspection, action,
and flexible but unbreakable wills that mark these women's daily lives and
the ritual of making quilts.
One of the quilters, Geraldine Westbrook, describes "my way" as "you just
had to find a way to do it yourself...When you sit down, you got to get
yourself a mind of your own, figure out a way to put them together."
If there is a favored design, it is an extension of a form generally called
"Log Cabin" among quilters nationally. In Gee's Bend, it is "Housetop"
quilts, recalling home building techniques with blocks upon blocks. Familiar
patterns, when used, take on a highly personal and imaginative appearance in
the hands of these gifted women.
"The Quilts of Gee's Bend" is an exhibition of works organized by the Museum
of Fine Arts, Houston, where it has already been on display, and the Tinwood
Alliance of Atlanta, a non-profit group that owns and preserves the quilts.
The exhibit comes to Mobile from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New
York, where the exhibition was highly praised and soundly attended.
"We are so fortunate to have this exhibition on display so near its
origination," said Joe Schenk, director of the Mobile Museum of Art. "Gee's
Bend, near Camden, Alabama, has been known for its magnificent quilt designs
for decades. The beauty and creativity link them to modern art while they
hold true to the folk art traditions of quiltmaking. It is great that their
exquisite handiwork will be seen here."
William Arnett is the Atlanta art collector who created the Tinwood Alliance
to preserve and promote the quilts. Arnett bought the quilts over a decade
at prices ranging from $100 to $2500 each. They are now worth many times the
original prices. Arnett has collected about 500 of the Gee's Bend quilts and
is encouraging the current generation of Gee's Bend residents to continue
The Quilts of Gee's Bend will travel to museums across the country for the
next three years, making these striking works, and the inspiring story of
the artists who created them, available to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
After Mobile, the exhibition will travel to the Milwaukee Art Museum
(September 27, 2003-January 4, 2004); The Corcoran Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C. (February 14-May 17, 2004); the Cleveland Museum of Art
(June 27-September 12, 2004); the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk (October
15, 2004-January 2, 2005); the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (February 13-May
8, 2005); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (June-August 2005); The Jule
Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University (September 11-December
4, 2005); and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (December 17, 2005-March 12,
The Mobile Museum of Art, located in beautiful Langan Park just 2 miles from
Interstate 65, reopened in its $15 million new facility in September 2002
and is now the largest art museum along the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to
Tampa. The museum is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday
through Saturday and from 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission charged. Museum
members and children under 6 free. Student, senior, military, and group
discounts available. Call (251) 208-5200 or visit www.MobileMuseumofArt.com
Alabama Folklife Program
Alabama State Council on the Arts
201 Monroe Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
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