Quilts come in many colors and patterns and are made from a variety of materials. They keep people warm on a cold night, but they can be much more than that.
"I love being able to hear directly from the family that has owned the quilt and has passed it down through their generations of family members because that's part of what makes these objects so special as repositories for stories and keepers of family memory," Emelie Gevalt said.
What You Need To Know
- "What That Quilt Knows About Me" is a new exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum in Lincoln Square
- It features 35 quilts and related works of art from the museum's collection
- There are a variety of quilts, including some that are very old and some that are newer
- The museum also has another exhibition featuring almost 150 items from the museum's collection called "Material Witness: Folk and Self-Taught Artists at Work."
Gevalt is the curatorial chair for collections and curator of folk art at the American Folk Art Museum in Lincoln Square, where around 35 quilts and related works of art on display. They are part of an exhibition called "What That Quilt Knows About Me." The name is based on a quote from an anonymous elder needleworker.
"My whole life is in that quilt and I tremble sometimes when I remember what that quilt knows about me," Gevalt said.
The exhibition showcases a range of quilts from the late 1700s into the 21st century.
One was made by two enslaved sisters on a plantation in Kentucky in 1850. Another was created in Baltimore around the same time by a congregation that met in one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. A more recent creation from Harlem native Dindga McCannon pays tribute to Jazz great Mary Lou Williams.
Those that are on display represent just some of the museum's extensive collection of 600 quilts.
"We have a wonderful fan base who love our quilts and we are always looking for an opportunity to highlight them and place them on view," Gevalt said.
The museum was founded in 1961 and it is the only museum in New York City dedicated to folk and self-taught artists. Those are artists whose talents are refined through experience rather than formal artistic training.
"Our curators are taking a deep dive into the collection. They are finding works of art that they are interested in showing, maybe works of art that have never been on view before or recent gifts to the museum," Chris Gorman, the museum's deputy director and chief communications and experience officer, said.
The museum also has another exhibition featuring almost 150 items from the museum's collection called "Material Witness: Folk and Self-Taught Artists at Work."
Both shows run through Oct. 29 and admission to the museum is always free.
The museum is also presenting its benefit concert on Thursday night at the New York Society for Ethical Culture's Adler Hall. It features Lonnie Holley, who has pieces of his art in the collection. It will be hosted by Harvey Fierstein, with performances by Suzanne Vega and a special appearance by David Byrne.