Beginning this week, Boise Art Museum will exhibit the incredible Gee's Bend quilts, once again forcing viewers to question what they think they know about art vs. craft.
Gee's Bend, Ala., is a small African-American community near the Alabama River. Since the middle of the 20th century, the women of Gee's Bend have been creating quilts with a "distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art." The pieces used for quilting are in a range of fabrics from cotton to corduroy to yarn and even old polyester leisure suits and in colors seldom used in modern textiles.
The quilts caught the attention of the Houston Museum of Art and in 2002, 70 of the quilts were exhibited there. When the exhibit visited the Whitney Museum in New York, The New York Times' Mike Kimmelman to call the Gee's Bend quilts “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”
The BAM exhibit will feature 25 of the American treasures created between made between 1940 and 2006, and will be accompanied by 20 contemporary prints made by Gee’s Bend artists who were inspired by the quilts.
Exhibit opens Saturday, Oct. 10. Visit boiseartmuseum.org for museum hours and admission prices.