The most ebullient exhibition of the New York art season has arrived at the Whitney Museum in the unlikely guise of a show of hand-stitched quilts from Gee’s Bend, Ala. Gee’s Bend is a remote, historically black community occupying a bulb of bottom land, a U-shaped peninsula five miles across and seven miles long, hemmed in on three sides by the Alabama River. The single road in and out of town was paved only in 1967. That was roughly the time ferry service, the most direct route outside, stopped when whites in Camden, the county seat and nearest city as the crow flies, decided they didn’t appreciate Benders crossing the river to register to vote.