CHICAGO — The DePaul Art Museum will unveil a new exhibition, “From Heart to Hand,” on April 10 featuring 23 quilts produced by African-American women. Originally organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama, the exhibition demonstrates that quilts are not just household goods, but are also a means of personal expression.
“The exhibition makes a very strong argument that not all art comes in a gold frame and that some things that are made for a practical use can also be transcendently beautiful and filled with meaning,” said Louise Lincoln, director of the museum at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus.
While quilting has been around in various forms for centuries, Lincoln explains that it was approximately 15 years ago that the contemporary art world “discovered” the distinctive work of the women in the town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, who created quilts with intricate patterns that resembled abstract paintings. As the Gee’s Bend artists have become famous, quilt exhibitions have grown in popularity and have been featured in major museums, including the Whitney Museum in New York.
The collection on display at DePaul Art Museum will include examples from Gee’s Bend, as well as other styles and subjects from the region of western Alabama, giving viewers rich insight on tradition and community.
Lincoln, who is also the curator for the exhibition, chose “From Heart to Hand” because of “the wonderful opportunity to broaden our visitors’ perspective, to understand the history of art made by women, and to extend the idea of what ‘art’ is.”
“By identifying the artists by name and showing the remarkable variations and innovations they produce, the exhibition gives quilts and their makers the respect they deserve,” she said.
A series of programs will accompany the exhibition. Carolyn Ducey, curator of collections at the International Quilt Studies Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will give an introduction to the history of quilting in the South on April 12 at 2 p.m. Celebrated quilter and one of the featured exhibition artists, Yvonne Wells, will give a lecture on April 26 at 1 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information on these events, visit http://bit.ly/PUx4cp.
The exhibition will be featured at the DePaul Art Museum from April 10 – June 22.
The DePaul Art Museum at 935 W. Fullerton, just east of the CTA’s Fullerton ‘L’ stop, is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, call 773-325-7506 or visit www.depaul.edu/museum.