An Eye-Opening Exhibition in Ohio Looks at the Role of Quilting in Radical American Social Movements—See Works Here
The show is set against a complex broader backdrop.
“Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change”
at the Toledo Museum of Art
through February 14, 2021
What the museum says: “Disrupting our expectations of quilts as objects that provide warmth and comfort, this exhibition will explore the complicated and often overlooked stories quilts tell about the American experience, offering new perspectives on themes including military action and protest, civil rights, gender equality, queer aesthetics, and relationships with land and the environment.
“Why it’s worth a look: The quilts on view in this show are set against the backdrop of social movements and political life in the United States. With examples of quilts documenting and memorializing the AIDS crisis, the Vietnam War, and systemic racism in the US, the stories woven into these works are small squares of a larger patchwork history.
The show traces the history of the craft by looking at the Gee’s Bend quilters, contemporary practitioners like Judy Chicago and Bisa Butler, and anonymous artists who created some of the works on view. Butler, a native of Orange, New Jersey, says of her work: “I am telling the story—this African American side—of the American life. History is the story of men and women, but the narrative is controlled by those who hold the pen.”
What it looks like:
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