Tuesday, May 10, 2016



A field of triangles, many of them purple, fill the frame of this art quilt.ROBERT SHAW

WHEN: Saturday, May 14, 2 p.m.
WHERE: The Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive (at North Charles & 31st Streets)
: Free

One of the most highly regarded experts on contemporary and antique quilts in the world, Robert Shaw is the author of such critically acclaimed definitive books as The Art Quilt, Art Quilts: A Celebration, and American Quilts: The Democratic Art.

Shaw’s talk will address how from 1800 to the present day there have always been art quilts that were primarily decorative, as well as utilitarian pieces that transcend function and rise to the level of art. He will also comment on several works in the BMA’s current exhibition New Arrivals: Art Quilts. (Above: Adrien Rothschild. Purple Mountains. 1991. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of the Artist, Baltimore, BMA 1998.360)

The free event is generously sponsored by Herbert Katzenberg and Susan Katzenberg in memory of Gloria B. Katzenberg.

Unlike its predecessors, the art quilt is intended for display on the wall rather than the bed.

Among the many recent additions to the BMA’s late 20th-century textile collection are five stunning quilts created by professional artists who chose to express themselves with cloth and thread, in some cases abandoning their original media in order to do so. These intricate art quilts include examples of works by the foremost proponent of the art quilt, Michael James, whose stunningMetamorphosis (1983) plays with color transitions and the transformation of space. Pamela Studstill’s elaborately pieced and painted quilt, #76 (1988), is accompanied by the original commission drawing and fabric swatches.

Quilts by Baltimore-based artists Elizabeth Scott and Adrien Rothschild link the art quilt to this city. Scott’s esoterically appliqu├ęd and stitched Plantation (1980) gives an abstract depiction of both the night sky and the furrowed earth as remembered from her childhood in South Carolina. Rothschild—influenced by the paintings of her mother, Amalie Rothschild, and the work of M.C. Escher—created Purple Mountains (1991), an abstractly pictorial quilt of forested mountains, sky, and sun that synthesizes her love of color and geometric design. Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade challenge the traditional definition of quilts by blending architectural and textile elements for their Marsh Island (1986) triptych composed of painted plywood panels surrounding dye-painted and quilted cloth insets.

Curated by Anita Jones, Curator of Textiles