From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Quilts have held an important and cherished place in American culture, particularly in the American South. Though the materials and techniques of quilt making may be common, quilts—as process, as art, and as image—embody the very fabric of our country. In the late 20th century, several communities in Alabama received national attention as a result of the scholarship that focused specifically on the historic context of quilts in the rural environment, and this scholarship also inspired a new appreciation for their aesthetic appeal.
The 29 colorful and creatively designed quilts on display are by African-American quilt makers, primarily of West Alabama, and are part of the permanent collection of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Alabama. Most were made between the mid-1950s and the end of the 20th century, and represent the major themes in traditional quilt making. The exhibition includes examples of pieced quilts and appliqué, as well as the improvisational techniques use of unconventional materials that are common practice for contemporary quilt makers. The quilts are grouped within three sections: “Tradition: Patterns from the Past,” “Improvisation: Practical Invention,” and “An Unconventional Canvas: The Quilts of Yvonne Wells.” The exhibition sections are designed to introduce traditional patterns, and to show the improvisations upon these patterns that distinguish the work of individual quilters. Modern quilt making is exemplified by a group of outstanding narrative quilts by Tuscaloosa quilt maker Yvonne Wells. The exhibition is organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
28th Annual Julia Norton Babson Lecture
Quilts and the Civil Rights Movement
Yvonne Wells and Dr. Nell Painter
Thursday, October 9, 7 p.m.
Join MAM in welcoming artist/quilter, Yvonne Wells and historian/artist Dr. Nell Painter as they discuss how quilts have held an important and cherished place in American culture, particularly in the American South. Dialogue will encompass the civil rights movement, historic context of quilts in the rural environment as well as the stories behind individual artist’s quilts. Although materials and techniques of quilt making may be common, quilts—as process, as art, and as image—embody the very fabric of our country.
The Babson Memorial Lecture is funded, in part, by a generous perpetual gift from the Julia Babson Memorial Fund. Arrangements for the appearance of Dr. Nell Painter made through Greater Talent Network, Inc. New York, NY.
MAM Art Talks: Sanford Biggers
Thursday, November 20, 7 p.m.
$10 student with ID
Sanford Biggers is an interdisciplinary artist who works in film/video, installation, sculpture, music, and performance. Biggers has achieved international prominence over the last decade with a diverse body of work that explores themes of identity, race, American history, and spirituality, often by blending installation and performance. In Codex, a recent project, Biggers continues to probe these themes through another stylistic departure: painting on historical quilts, many of which were gifts to the artist from descendants of slave owners. An L.A. native, he has lived and worked in New York City since 1999.
FREE Family Day
Sunday, November 23, 1–5 p.m.
Celebrate your creativity and join the MAM community for a fun-filled day. Participate in a day of exploration with many dynamic Museum-wide art activities. Enjoy art projects inspired by current exhibition From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Be sure to check out quilting demos and projects in the galleries.
Free Family Days are made possible, in part, by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.
Free First Thursday Nights at MAM
The Museum is open the first Thursday of the month (October –June) from 5 to 9 p.m., with free admission, a full-service bar with special First Thursday Night prices, and a variety of dynamic art activities. Free First Thursday Nights this fall will feature demonstrations by the Nubian Heritage Quilters of Montclair and additional quilt-themed programming. Offerings change on a monthly basis, providing something new to see and do at every First Thursday Night. Free First Thursday Nights are offered in partnership with Pig & Prince Restaurant and Gastro-Lounge.
Quilt Guilds & Organizational Partners
American Quilter's Society
Baltimore Applique Society
Brownstone Quilters Guild
Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild
Garden State Quilters Guild
Homemakers County Quilters
Jersey Shore Modern Quilt Guild
Main Line Quilters
Aardvark & Co.
Abby's Quilting Corner
Acme Country Fabrics
Bernina Sewing Center
The City Quilter
Just Make it Sew
The Little Shop
Long Arm Quilting
Mouse Creek Quilts
Needles & Pins
Olde City Quilts
Paramus Fabric Center
Pennington Quilt Works
Perfect Timing Sewing Machine Co.
The Pin Cushion Quilt Shop
The Quilted Nest
The Quilted Crow
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Round Bobbin Quilt Store
The Village Quilter
DePaul Art Museum
April 10–June 15, 2014
Montclair Art Museum
September 21, 2014–January 4, 2015
Flint Institute of Arts
January 24–April 10, 2016