News & Events

February 5, 2020

The quilters of Gee’s Bend make art out of recycled cloth. Lonnie Holley crafts sculptures out of car tyres and other human detritus. Self-taught luthier Freeman Vines carves guitars out of wood that came from a “hanging tree” once used to lynch black men. The “yard shows” of Dinah Young and Joe Minter are permanent exhibitions of their art – a cacophony of “scrap-iron elegies”. Almost all of this art comes from Alabama, and it all features in We Will Walk, Turner Contemporary’s groundbreaking new exhibition of African-American art from the southern state and its surroundings.

January 24, 2020

Souls Grown Deep (SGD) is planning to help revitalize Gee’s Bend, Alabama—the home of multiple generations of quiltmakers, many of which are represented in the organization’s collection. Established to promote the work of African American artists from the South, Souls Grown Deep has already succeeded in spotlighting the community, which consists of the towns of Boykin and Alberta, by fostering the acquisition of quilts and other works from artists in the region by major art museums in the United States—since 2014, the SGD has placed quilts by sixty-eight Gee’s Bend quilters into the permanent collections of twenty cultural institutions.

January 23, 2020

In a review of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s landmark 2002 exhibition of quilts from Gee’s Bend, New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman described the textiles as “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.” The quilts, he wrote, were “so eye-poppingly gorgeous that it’s hard to know how to begin to account for them. Since then, these dazzling geometric artworks have traveled around the globe, been reproduced on official US postage stamps, and become broadly recognized as an important part of American art history. But back in Gee’s Bend—the tiny Alabama hamlet formally known as Boykin that has nurtured three generations of quiltmakers—the impact of the quilts’ renown has been more subtle.