American Folk Art Museum Presents Infinite Variety 3/25-30
American Folk Art Museum Presents Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts
Unprecedented Quilt Extravaganza at Park Avenue Armory
Highlight of the Museum's Year of the Quilt
For six days in March, the historic Park Avenue Armory will be transformed into a glorious display of color and design when the American Folk Art Museum presents Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts. More than 650 red and white American textiles, the largest quilt exhibition ever presented in New York City, are on loan from JoAnna Rose, a private New York collector. Open free to the public, this extraordinary assemblage will be dramatically installed in the Armory's 55,000-square-
foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall from March 25 to March 30, 2011.
"The American Folk Art Museum is taking another important step in expanding and reaching new audiences. Through this exhibition and related educational programming the museum continues to augment its core mission and develop new ways of attracting visitors. Since admission to the quilt exhibition is free, it represents a special gift to the people of New York City and beyond," comments Maria Ann Conelli, executive director, American Folk Art Museum.
"I am also pleased to announce another significant gift. The collector has generously decided to donate a number of quilts to the museum. Fifty of the most beautiful and historically significant quilts will be selected by our curators," continues Ms. Conelli.
This superb collection is astonishing not only because of the sheer number of red and white textiles but also because no two are exactly alike. Spanning three hundred years, the designs range from dazzling optical effects to fanciful mazes to dynamic zigzag lightning bolts. The patterns are appliqued or pieced in red on a white ground or white on a red background. The exhibition is organized by guest curator Elizabeth V. Warren, a leading authority on quilts and trustee of the American Folk Art Museum, and Stacy C. Hollander, project director and the museum's senior curator.
"It is an honor to be involved with this amazing exhibition and it will be a pleasure to select examples of the quilts for the museum's Permanent Collection. We have known that many red and white quilts were made during the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, but this large collection allows us to study a much longer period of creativity using this color scheme and a much wider scope of design than was ever envisioned," says Ms. Warren. Research on the collection is ongoing and plans are to produce a book and arrange a worldwide traveling exhibition.
The innovative and exciting display of the 650 quilts in the Armory space has been created by the award- winning New York City exhibition design firm Thinc Design. Defying gravity, the quilts appear to spiral in mid-air filling the enormous volume of the Drill Hall and creating circular pavilions that invite visitors to experience the quilts in a three-dimensional environment. Highlighted quilts will be arranged on viewing platforms for closer appreciation. Incorporated into the floor-to-ceiling design will be strategically placed benches and ottomans. A cafe and Museum Shop will be available.
"New York City is home to so many affordable ways of engaging with culture," said Cultural Affairs
Commissioner Kate D. Levin. "Thanks to this dynamic collaboration between the American Folk Art
Museum and the Park Avenue Armory, diverse audiences from across the five boroughs and beyond will
have free access to an extraordinary collection of quilts that depict 300 years of American history."
The exhibition will be accompanied by a complement of daily educational events and programs for adults and children that will be informative and appealing to experienced quilters, passionate collectors, and all those interested in art, design, folk art, Americana, and American history.
Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts will cap the American Folk Art Museum's
"Year of the Quilt." Currently on view at the museum is Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum, a two-part exhibition. The first installation can be seen through April 24, 2011 and the second from May 10 to October 16, 2011. In conjunction with this presentation is a lavishly illustrated, full-color book published by Rizzoli documenting 200 quilts in the museum's collection. At the museum's branch location at Lincoln Square is the exhibition Super Stars: Quilts from the Collection, November 16, 2010 - September 25, 2011.