One of the most rewarding shows last year in New York was The Quilts of Gee’s Bend at the Whitney. For generations, the descendants of former slaves in an isolated Alabama town developed quilt designs that stand alongside–and frequently prefigure by decades–some of the best modern art of the 20th century. The reminded me of Stuart Davis, 80’s Sol Lewitt, and most of all, Ellsworth Kelly.
Anyway, as of yesterday, that show is at the Corcoran in DC. I understand if you’re still boycotting because of that embarassing Seward Johnson exhibit, but you’ll only be hurting yourself if you miss this. But if you insist, you can approximate the Gee’s Bend experience by buying the catalog and the more expansive Gee’s Bend: The Women and their Quilts, or with a handtufted, quilt-patterned carpet, made under exclusive license by the Classic Rug Collection.
Over 600 quilts are now owned by the non-profit Tinwood Alliance, which was established by Peter Arnett, an Atlanta collector who began amassing them in the 1980’s.