News & Archives
Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt
11/1991 - 04/1992
In 1990 the current directors of The Kentucky Quilt Project, Shelly Zegart, Eleanor Bingham Miller, and Jonathan Hostein, began to discuss an appropriate way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the historic exhibition, Abstract Design in America Quilts, which opened at the Whiteney Museum of America Art, New York, in 1971. The exhibition, curated by Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof, created a worldwide awareness of American quilts as designed objects. It was decided that it would most beneficial to plan a group of events which might illustrate and further the extraordinary developments in the field over the past two decades. A recreation of the Whitney exhibition was a logical starting point, as many quilt researchers and scholars, quiltmakers, collectors, and museum personnel now actively involved with quilts, never saw that original show. Also planned were five exhibitions, four conferences and additional associated events. The exhibitions were: Abstract design in American Quilts, at the Louisville Museum of History and Science; A Plan Aesthetic: Lancaster Amish Quilts, at the J.B.Speed Museum; Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts, at the Louisville Museum of History and Science; Quilts Now at Zephyr Gallery; Narrations: The Quilts of Yvonne Wells and Carolyn Mazloomi at the Louisville Visual Art Association; and Quilt Conceptions: Quilt Designs in Other Media at the Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery.
The four conferences were designed to further quilt scholarship in specific area:
- "The African-American and the American Quilt" looked at African-American quilts both in relation to the African textile tradition and as part of the mainstream of American quiltmaking.
- "Directions in Quilt Scholarship" surveyed the field past and present, discussed quilts as art historical and social objects, and looked at problems in the field.
- "Quilts and Collections: Public, Private and Corporate" discussed the ways quilts are seen, collected and used by individual and corporate collectors, and museums.
- "Toward an International Quilt Bibliography," through the individual efforts and interaction of 15 scholars, suggested the form and directions for a potential new quilt biography.
Other events included lectures by scholar and quilt artists, and opportunities for participants to discuss issues in the field. The Celebration began in November 1991 and continued through April 1992. The Conference weekend was February 6 through 8, 1992.
Please see "Expanding Quilt Scholarship: The Lectures, Conferences, and Other Presentations of Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt" book for more materials related to the "Louisville Celebrates the American Quilt" event.
Celebration Weekend Photos