Two Quilt Shows Open at the Hudson River Museum September 28
YONKERS, July 31, 2003 - Two quilt exhibitions tell separate stories at the Hudson River Museum this fall - one a story of times past and the other the thoughts and feelings engendered by September 11. The beauty, history and emotional power of quilts are exuberantly evident in Quilts: A Window to the Past and America from the Heart: Quilters Remember September 11, 2001. Both exhibitions open September 28. A Window to the Past closes January 20 and America from the Heart January 5.
At once traditional and vital, quilting has always been more than just a practical and thrifty craft. Quilt patterns, materials and methods of manufacture reflected women's personal and collective experiences and creativity. Quilt images also portray the events and developments of their time.
In Quilts: A Window to the Past, Victoria Hoffman, who curated this exhibition, presents a survey of quilting which reflects the changes in society, architecture, technology and fashion that occurred in the period in which each quilt was sewn. Twenty-seven spectacular antique quilts from the 1830s to the 1930s are displayed along with visual documentation, quotes and sewing ephemera to weave a story about women's lives and art. Hoffman shows how patterns, fabrics, colors-even stitching styles-relate to the cultural and social history of the United States. On view are appliqué and pieced formats, including Album and Sampler quilts, Friendship quilts and other styles and patterns. Also represented are Crazy quilts, inspired by Japanese decorative arts and String-pieced, Postage Stamp and Charm quilts, which all made use of small fabric scraps.
Besides highlighting the Victorian devotion to quilting, the exhibition also reveals how the Colonial Revival at the end of the nineteenth century and the Great Depression of the 1930s renewed the popularity of quilts. Early twentieth-century books, magazines and published patterns spread information about quilting at a time when decorating with quilts was a form of national pride.
A Window to the Past includes two contemporary quilts, affirming the vitality of this art form. Quilts: A Window to the Past is curated by noted quilt expert and collector,
Victoria Hoffman. Assistance and support for the exhibition have been generously provided by S. Rabbit Goody. Exhibition tour management is provided by Thomas & Associates, Inc., Fine Art Services, New York.
When people around the world responded to the tragedies of September 11 in their own ways, many quilters got busy with their hands. In the weeks following those events, quilters channeled their grief, anger and yearning for comfort and peace into their quilts, some symbolic, others patriotic or spiritual. In America from the Heart, the museum will display a selection of these quilts, first seen at Houston's International Quilt Festival, the largest quilting event in the world. From traditional to mixed-media figural works, the quilts' powerful messages are paralleled by their makers' moving commentary. Interpretations range from traditional-style patchwork and appliqué patterns to realistic and symbolic pictorial imagery.
Hudson River Museum Director Michael Botwinick said, "These quilts, created in response to the unprecedented events of September 11, are an important example of how, throughout American history, quilters have expressed the deepest feelings of their time."
After the September attacks, Karey Bresenhan, the curator for this exhibition, posted notices on quilt sites, offering to hang all entries commemorating 9/11 at the Houston Quilt Festival, slated to open just six week after the tragedies. An outpouring of large and small quilts arrived, and from them 120 were selected to become part of the show America from the Heart. For this venue, the Hudson River Museum's Chief Curator of Collections Laura Vookles chose quilts from Westchester County and New York State, and others from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Montana, Wisconsin, Nevada, California and Canada.
America from the Heart: Quilters Remember September 11, 2001 has been made possible by a generous grant from HSBC Bank. Illustrated, color catalogs for both quilt exhibitions are available in the museum gift shop.
Located at 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades, the Hudson River Museum is a nonprofit, cultural institution that embraces fine art, science and history. The museum houses galleries, a planetarium and the 1876 Glenview Mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m all year and on Fridays, Noon9 p.m., May through September. Members free. $5 adults, $3 senior citizens age 62 and older and children 4- 12.