(MAM) & Yard School of Art offer American, Native American, & contemporary art exhibitions, programs, & classes in NJ

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From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Yvonne Wells Rosa Parks I, 2005 Cotton/ polyester blend, polyester, cotton, plastic buttons Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, Association Purchase, 2008.9.6
Start Date: 
Sep, 21, 2014
End Date: 
Jan, 04, 2015

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 30 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.


Travel Schedule
DePaul Art Museum
Chicago, IL
April 10–June 15, 2014


Montclair Art Museum
Montclair, NJ
September 21, 2014–January 4, 2015