Abstract Design in American Quilts at 50

Event Picture
Date: Mar 26 - Sep 4
Venue: International Quilt Museum
Location: 1523 N 33rd St.
Ticket Price: $8 Adults, $6 Seniors (age 65+), $4 Child (age 5-18), Free for Child (under 5) and UNL faculty, staff and students, $16 Family (up to two adults with dependent children or grandchildren 18 and under)
Time: 10am-4pm Tues.-Sat.
Phone: (402) 472-6549

This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of Abstract Design in American Quilts, a 1971 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City. Widely credited with helping bring art world attention to quilts, Abstract Design in American Quilts featured graphic pieced quilts hanging on the walls more commonly used to showcase large, mid-20th century abstract expressionist paintings. The exhibition’s curators, Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof, compared the antique American bed quilts in their collection to these very same paintings, identifying visual similarities in the use of hard edges, optical illusions, repetition, saturation of color, and graphic simplicity. Although quilts had begun receiving widespread attention from the press during the late 1960s, it was a risk for a major American art museum to exhibit works typically considered as craft or folk art on its gallery walls. The risk paid off: art critics bestowed near universal praise on the exhibition, and soon Holstein and van der Hoof received requests from venues across the United States, Europe, and Japan to host similar exhibits. Abstract Design in American Quilts did not single-handedly transform quilts into works of art, but the attention it brought to quilts signaled a new era, as artists, critics, and the general public began to see quilts as much more than bed covers. Curated by Dr. Carolyn Ducey West Gallery & Bridge