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Signature Styles: Friendship, Album, and Fundraising Quilts

January 22, 2020–August 30, 2020
Exhibition
At the Self-Taught Genius Gallery
Long Island City, Queens

**By appointment only. To schedule a visit, please contact mhalper@folkartmuseum.org.**

By its nature, the signature quilt is meant to be read not only as a whole but also square by square. Although the form is known by various names—including friendship, album, and fundraising quilts—what all of these types share in common is the composite nature of the quilting project, in which individual signed blocks have been brought together to form a larger design. Often a group undertaking, each block was typically named for, and frequently made and/or paid for by, a different member of a community.

In this sense, the signature quilt holds symbolic value not only as a record of shared creative endeavor, which is the case for many quilts, but also as a legible record of relationships between the quilters and their communities, as well as between the part and the whole. As documents of past networks, such objects extend a sense of interconnectedness into the present, drawing viewers into a web of historical linkages in tandem with the visual interactions between blocks.

Like the systematically articulated branches of a family tree, the signature quilt simultaneously lays out and pulls in, engaging us in a simile of the group’s structure, and of the object’s dynamism, as we expand and contract our focus to take in both large and small.

Exhibition curator: Emelie Gevalt, curator of folk art, American Folk Art Museum

 

Signature Styles: Friendship, Album, and Fundraising Quilts is the first exhibition in a yearlong series, titled Connecting Threads: A Year of Exceptional Quilts, to be presented at the American Folk Art Museum’s Self-Taught Genius Gallery in Long Island City throughout 2020.

Address:
47-29 32nd Place
Long Island City, NY 11101

Map (click to enlarge):

Subway: 7 train to 33rd Street, walk 2 blocks
Bus: Q32, Q39, Q60

 

Exhibition-Related Programs

Curatorial Gallery Tour – February 5, 2020
Curatorial Gallery Tour – March 4, 2020
Curatorial Gallery Tour – April 1, 2020

 

Images: Friendship Star Quilt; Elizabeth Hooton (Cresson) Savery (1808–1851) and others; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1844; cotton and linen with ink; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Marie D. and Charles A.T. O’Neill, 1979.26.1. Photo by Matt Hoebermann.

McKinley Community Church Signature Quilt; Ladies’ Aid Society, McKinley Community Church; Warren, Ohio; 1935; wool with wool yarn and embroidery thread; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Ivan Massar, 2007.2.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Presentation Quilt for William A. Sargent; Members of the Freewill Baptist Church; Loudon, New Hampshire; blocks made c. 1854, assembled and quilted later; cotton with ink and cotton embroidery; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Cyril Irwin Nelson, 2003.1.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Admiral Dewey Commemorative Quilt; Possibly The Mite Society (Ladies’ Aid), United Brethren Church; Center Point, Indiana; 1900–1910; cotton with Turkey red cotton embroidery; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Janet Gilbert for Marie Griffin, 1993.3.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Schoolhouse Quilt Top; The Presbyterian Ladies of Oak Ridge, Missouri; Oak Ridge, Missouri; 1897–1898; cotton with cotton embroidery; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Beverly Walker Reitz in memory of Vest Walker, 1984.22.10. Photo by Matt Hoebermann.

Surprise Quilt Presented to Mary A. Grow; various artists; Plymouth, Michigan; 1856; cotton with ink and embroidery; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift in memory of Margaret Trautwein Stoddard and her daughter, Eleanor Stoddard Seibold, 2003.2.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Cross River Album Quilt; Mrs. Eldad Miller (1805–1874) and others; Cross River, New York; 1861; cotton and silk with wool embroidery; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Dr. Stanley and Jacqueline Schneider, 1980.8.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Reiter Family Album Quilt; unidentified artist, descended in the family of Katie Friedman Reiter (1873–1942) and Liebe Gross Friedman (dates unknown); probably Baltimore, Maryland; 1848–1850; cotton and wool; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Katherine Amelia Wine in honor of her grandmother Theresa Reiter Gross and the makers of the quilt, her great-grandmother Katie Friedman Reiter and her great-great-grandmother Liebe Gross Friedman, and on behalf of a generation of cousins: Sydney Howard Reiter, Penelope Breyer Tarplin, Jonnie Breyer Stahl, Susan Reiter Blinn, Benjamin Joseph Gross, and Leba Gross Wine, 2000.2.1. Photo by John Parnell.

Baltimore-Style Album Quilt Top; possibly Mary Heidenroder Simon; probably Baltimore, Maryland; 1849–1852; cotton and ink; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James O. Keene, 1984.41.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Baltimore-Style Album Quilt Top; unidentified artist; Baltimore, Maryland (found in Uniontown, Pennsylvania); 1845–1850; cotton with wool embroidery; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Altria Group, Inc., 2008.9.3. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Dunn Album Quilt; Sewing Society of the Fulton Street United Methodist Episcopal Church; Elizabethport, New Jersey; 1852; cotton and ink with cotton embroidery; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Phyllis Haders, 1980.1.1. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Friendship Album Quilt; unidentified artist (possibly Mennonite); United States; early twentieth century; cotton; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Karen and Werner Gundersheimer, 2018.2.17. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Hudson River Quilt; Irene Preston Miller (1917–2007) and The Hudson River Quilters; Croton-on-Hudson, New York; 1969–1972; cotton, wool, and blends with cotton embroidery; 95 1/4 × 80 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, 1991.3.1. Photo by Matt Hoebermann.

Credits

This exhibition is supported in part by the Bresler Foundation, the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the Council for Traditional Folk Art.