‘Beauty Without Bias’ At The Toledo Museum Of Art

‘Beauty Without Bias’ At The Toledo Museum Of Art

Beauty without bias can be seen at TMA in 24 artworks from Black makers across the Deep South through May 1, 2022, during its exhibition “Living Legacies: Art of the African American South.” Each piece has been acquired by TMA in the past two years from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting the artistic production and cultural traditions of Black artists from the rural South. 

The Subversive Power of Quilts: Legacy Russell on ‘The New Bend’

The Subversive Power of Quilts: Legacy Russell on ‘The New Bend’

The New Bend, curated by Legacy Russell and currently on view at Hauser and Wirth, New York, looks at the raced, classed and gendered traditions of quilting and textile through the work of 12 contemporary artists. Its title is an explicit reference and homage to the quilters of Gee’s Bend, a Black women’s cooperative set up on a former slave-owning plantation in Alabama and which, since the 1960s, have become known for their intergenerational quilting practices and their striking, modernist compositions. Borne out of a necessity to recycle scraps of fabric, the quilts have in recent years garnered institutional attention, including a major retrospective at New York’s Whitney Museum in 2002, The Quilts of Gee’s Bend.

The Gift of Humanity in Bessie Harvey’s Art, An Interview with Faye Harvey Dean

The Gift of Humanity in Bessie Harvey’s Art, An Interview with Faye Harvey Dean

Born in 1929, the Black autodidact sculptor Bessie Harvey created mixed-media assemblages from materials located in the woods surrounding her home in Alcoa, Tennessee. Harvey, who died in 1994, was guided largely through life by the teachings of the Bible. Her keen wit and unorthodox perspectives on her faith granted her access to sidestep dogma and dare to stand in undeviating opposition to the congregation as she contemplated racism and religion. The collective wisdom that she acquired through the diasporic Black American experience of womanhood, and of living within systems of racial segregation and associated economic retribution, informed her survival in an unconcerned white supremacist climate and also allowed her to recall her value and humanity, which she poured into her art.

Gee’s Bend Quilts: Objects of Cultural Identity in the American South

Gee’s Bend Quilts: Objects of Cultural Identity in the American South

Quilting, or the stitching together of various layers of textiles and padding, is a creative process that dates back thousands of years. While the practical purpose of quilting is to provide warmth and protection, quilts throughout history have typically included decorative elements regardless of their necessity. Among the most recognizable and beloved blankets in the world are those made by the Gee’s Bend quilters, a collective of Black women in the American South who have been quilting for several generations. Explore the rich history, community traditions, and distinctive craftsmanship that is thoughtfully and expertly stitched into each one of the Gee’s Bend quilts.

Leading Contemporary Artists Pay Homage to the Pioneering Quilters of Gee’s Bend

Leading Contemporary Artists Pay Homage to the Pioneering Quilters of Gee’s Bend

For centuries, craftspeople have joined fibers and fabrics to tell tales about time, color, and space. Though textiles and quilts have often been associated with domesticity, they can be more than gorgeous practical items. These pieces have long been recognized for their aesthetic value, and in recent years, art-world aficionados have increasingly taken notice.

A Renowned Community of Quilters Is Taking on Copycats and Winning

A Renowned Community of Quilters Is Taking on Copycats and Winning

Quilts made by generations of women in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, have hung in the Met, the Whitney, and the Smithsonian Museum of Art. They’ve been shown at galleries and art fairs around the world. But if the quilters want to directly sell their world-famous quilts — vibrant, often asymmetrical, charismatic works, originally hand-stitched for warmth from scavenged fabric — they’ve had to wait for prospective buyers to come to them. That requires a drive deep into the Alabama Black Belt, along red dirt roads with little to no cell signal, through an isolated stretch of grassy meadows and pine woods, to a community deep in an oxbow of the Alabama River that, if the ferry’s not running, is nearly 40 miles from the closest hotel, supermarket, or pharmacy. At least, this is how it worked before February of 2021.

Valerie Cassel Oliver Receives CCS Bard’s $25,000 Award for Curatorial Excellence

Valerie Cassel Oliver Receives CCS Bard’s $25,000 Award for Curatorial Excellence

The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) has named Valerie Cassel Oliver, the curator of an acclaimed survey about sound and Southern culture, as the 2022 recipient of its Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. The prize, which goes to one curator annually, comes with a $25,000 purse. “Valerie Cassel Oliver should be considered one of America’s great ‘thought leaders,’ a curator who constantly surprises, enlightens, and broadens the scope of art,” said Tom Eccles, executive director of CCS Bard, in a statement.

Why Alabama’s Gee’s Bend was right for clothing company expansion

Why Alabama’s Gee’s Bend was right for clothing company expansion

Gee’s Bend, Alabama, couldn’t be real. That’s what fashion designer Patrick Robinson, who knew of the storied Gee’s Bend’s quilters, figured. “I’ve owned the books of Gee’s Bend forever. I never thought it was a real place,” says Robinson, founder of the New York City-based Paskho clothing company. “I thought it was this mystical place where people made … I mean, if you look at the art, the craft that people make, it blows your mind. So I didn’t believe they existed.” Yet, the self-proclaimed “weird one from New York with the Afro” sits at a real aluminum picnic table under a real Southern pine on a stunning late fall day, outside a building bustling with real seamstresses – including some quilters – to assemble clothing for Paskho. In the real community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

On View: See Images From ‘Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,’ First Survey of Artist’s Quilt-Based Works at California African American Museum in Los Angeles

On View: See Images From ‘Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,’ First Survey of Artist’s Quilt-Based Works at California African American Museum in Los Angeles

Working with antique, pre-1900 quilts, Sanford Biggers makes mixed-media works that present as painted textiles and sculptural installations. The quilt-based works are inspired by the modern and contemporary artistry of the Black women who have been making quilts in Gee’s Bend, Ala., for generations and the rumored lore surrounding quilts as signposts and communications vehicles on the Underground Railroad. 

Looking Back to Fly Forward: "Another Tradition" at the Morgan Library & Museum

Looking Back to Fly Forward: "Another Tradition" at the Morgan Library & Museum

Lonnie Holley came to art via tombstones. In 1979, when his sister lost two children in a house fire, Holley managed his grief by chipping away at stone, carving headstones for his niece and nephew’s graves. Afterward, he kept making sculptures and eventually began working with other materials, like wood, barbed wire, and animal bones. Despite their formal eclecticism, these pieces share a purpose: they suggest jagged totems for departed spirits. At the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, in the exhibition “Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South,” one of Holley’s assemblages acted as a conduit for the dead.