Armory Quilt ShowPosted: March 30, 2011
Today I popped over to the American Folk Art Museum‘s presentation of Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts and was BLOWN AWAY. This stellar exhibition displayed 650 red and white quilts from the private collection of Joanna S. Rose.
Walking into The Armory’s 55,000-square-foot drill hall was on par with entering a gothic cathedral but instead of stained glass punctuating an inky void, hundreds of graphically patterned quilts hung throughout the space in an awe-insiring visual cacophony. The geometrical variation was stunning. The exhibition design was stunning. The space itself was stunning.
Hundreds of people meandered through the collection of quilts, pointing out details to friends or using the exhibition’s iPad ap to learn about the history or design of a particular work. The lack of labels or informative pamphlets would normally annoy me but in this case, the dearth of labels allowed for an aesthetic immersion rarely experienced. There was a moment standing at the rear of the gallery that I felt viscerally overwhelmed by the scale and beauty of it all, an experience bordering on Stendhal Syndrome. So I sat down, the bright quilts above me swaying as though breathing and all I could think about was how extraordinary it all looked.
If you want to know more about the exhibition, Simon Schama with The Financial Times wrote this very informative article.