“Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum” launches the Year of the Quilt, the museum’s celebration of a glorious American art form and the creative contributions of three centuries of talented women. Highlighting textile masterpieces in the collection, the exhibitions include recent gifts, bedcovers that have rarely been on view, and important cornerstones of the museum’s comprehensive quilt holdings. Given the rarity of the fabrics used in most of the museum’s historic quilts, the fine workmanship, and the quilts’ well preserved condition, it is clear that they are examples of “best” bedcovers, saved for use on special occasions or when company visited. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when quilts no longer needed to be made for mere warmth, quiltmakers used the at form to express their creativity within the confines of popular decorating trends. Most recently, contemporary fiber artists have taken the opportunity to transcend time and place, using the historical concept of a quilt as a starting point for their artistic, and often social and political, statements.
Elizabeth V. Warren, guest curator