HISTORIC QUILTS OF GEE’S BEND AT THE NEVADA MUSEUM OF ART

. February 21, 2010

Distinctive and original works of art complete with compelling histories, A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts will be on display at the Nevada Museum of Art, located in downtown Reno, through April 11, 2010. Showcasing the creativity of a group of exceptional African-American women from a small, rural community in Alabama, A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts offers a fascinating look into the lives of the quilters and their art while exploring the inspiration and future of this unique quilting tradition.

Consisting of nearly 30 quilts, A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts spans more than 70 years of quilting by the women of Gee’s Bend, a community of just 700 residents located at a hairpin bend on the Alabama River. Comprised almost exclusively of descendants of the enslaved workers of Joseph Gee’s cotton plantation, the area is surrounded on three sides by a river — with only a single road in and out – leading to the development of a distinctive local culture and quilt aesthetic. The innovative pattern variations and abstract designs—all of which are rooted in tradition—are the quilters’ own artistic expressions inspired by everyday events such as walking to the local store, visiting neighbors’ homes and riding the bus.

The quilts of Gee’s Bend are made from everyday fabrics: corduroy, denim, cotton sheets and well-worn clothing. Most of the quilts are of the type known as piece, strip or patchwork, yet their vibrant color schemes and abstract compositions vary widely from the ordered regularity associated with traditional Western quiltmaking. A longstanding tradition passed down since pre-Civil War times, the quilts of Gee’s Bend were once the products of thrift and necessity assembled from discarded fabric scraps and created to be piled on beds to keep families warm at night.

Distinctive and original works of art complete with compelling histories, A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts will be on display at the Nevada Museum of Art, located in downtown Reno, Feb. 6 through April 11, 2010. Showcasing the creativity of a group of exceptional African-American women from a small, rural community in Alabama, A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts offers a fascinating look into the lives of the quilters and their art while exploring the inspiration and future of this unique quilting tradition.

Consisting of nearly 30 quilts, A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts spans more than 70 years of quilting by the women of Gee’s Bend, a community of just 700 residents located at a hairpin bend on the Alabama River. Comprised almost exclusively of descendants of the enslaved workers of Joseph Gee’s cotton plantation, the area is surrounded on three sides by a river — with only a single road in and out – leading to the development of a distinctive local culture and quilt aesthetic. The innovative pattern variations and abstract designs—all of which are rooted in tradition—are the quilters’ own artistic expressions inspired by everyday events such as walking to the local store, visiting neighbors’ homes and riding the bus.

The quilts of Gee’s Bend are made from everyday fabrics: corduroy, denim, cotton sheets and well-worn clothing. Most of the quilts are of the type known as piece, strip or patchwork, yet their vibrant color schemes and abstract compositions vary widely from the ordered regularity associated with traditional Western quiltmaking. A longstanding tradition passed down since pre-Civil War times, the quilts of Gee’s Bend were once the products of thrift and necessity assembled from discarded fabric scraps and created to be piled on beds to keep families warm at night.

Major sponsorship provided by the Nevada Museum of Art Volunteers In Art.

Media Sponsorship by KNPB Public Broadcasting.

Additional funding provided by the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Supported by Stimulus Funding from the Nevada Arts Council’s SNAP Grant Program. Supported by Stimulus Funding from the Nevada Arts Council’s SNAP Grant Program.

A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts will be exhibited February 6 through April 11, 2010 at the Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery located at 160 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno. The galleries are open Wednesday through Sunday. Cost: Museum members free; $10 adults; $8 students/seniors; $1 children 6 – 12; free for children under six. For more information, please call 775.329.3333 or visit www.nevadaart.org.

GUIDED TOURS:
Guided Tours for A Survey of Gee’s Bend Quilts are free with admission on Thursday at 6pm (except First Thursdays) and Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. Space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations are not needed. Spanish language tours can be arranged by calling 775.329.3333 ex. 253.

Category: Museum News

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