Yesterday was a rare day. I ventured into New York City...alone. We've lived in the area for just over 5 years and New York still intimidates me a bit. I think it's the size, not only of the city, but of the buildings as well. What took me into the city was the chance to see an extraordinary exhibition of quilts.
A disclaimer is needed here. You see, even though I grew up with a mother, grandmother, aunt and neighbors who all hand-quilted, quilts just aren't my thing. Blasphemy for a fiber artist, right? Not really because I can and do appreciate the skill and artistry that goes into making quilts. It's just that I'm not a quilt...hmmm...fanatic.
Well, not until yesterday, that is. The American Folk Art Museum presented Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts. As the brochure states,
It is with profound gratitude to Joanna S. Rose that the American Folk Art Museum presents "Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts." ...six hundred and fifty red and white bedcovers from Mrs. Rose's collection of more than one thousand American quilts are on view in the Park Avenue Armory's historic 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall. And as a gift to the city of New York, admission to the exhibition is free. While the idea of hundreds of quilts is impressive in the abstract, in actuality it is an unprecedented and immersive experience, both visually and physically. The title "Infinite Variety," though evocative and accurate, belies the sheer magnitude and poetry of Mrs. Rose's accomplishment. The lyrical installation...tosses these hundreds of quilts into space like so many playing cards, where they hover weightlessly, seemingly frozen in midair.
Tossed into space like so many playing cards. An excellent description. I stepped into the display hall and hoped my jaw didn't hit the floor. The sheer magnitude was astounding and took one's breath away. And this was just the beginning.
In the end, nearly 3 hours and over 200 photos later, I walked outside and quickly discarded any ideas of taking in the exhibits at the Museum of Art and Design or MOMA. Nothing else could compare to what I'd just seen.