The exhibition is in two parts - the historic pieces in one display and the modern ones in another.
Seventeen old quilts and two pieces by Alighiero e Boetti are shown together. Three of the quilts are hanging on the wall in an unconventional way, as if draped on a hook, with a spotlight on each of them. The other quilts were laid out against a long wall, on blocks creating a step, each overlapping another or being overlapped.
It was frustrating not to be able to see the full quilts, especially those from Gee's Bend. One in particular, Geraldine Westbrook's Housetop, was tantalisingly worn and dirty, which made me want to see the rest of it. It was also alarming to see that the quilts had been fixed in place with large staples. And several trailed across the floor, ready to be trodden on. I feel that this display should have been laid out in such a way that the full quilts could be seen. Hanging them against a wall would have enabled a full view without damaging the textiles.
Complaints finished! The quilts were a moving display of women's creativity, ingenuity and skill. Scraps of fabrics, worn and grubby, made up a large part of the Gee's Bend quilts, many with asymmetrical piecing that appeared to add to their spontaneity. One of the oldest pieces, Coxcomb Flower, was beautifully appliqued and quilted; Log Cabin, described as third quarter 19th century, had an unusual half square triangle centre. And the mariner's compass, also attributed to the same period , was stunning.
So, one can hope that this exhibition might help bring textile artworks into the mainstream art world. We wait and see.