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05 Apr 2023

Threads of Knowledge: Sarah Zapata and Julia Bryan-Wilson in Conversation

Featuring approximately 40 quilts and related works of art, spanning from the 19th through 21st centuries, What That Quilt Knows About Me presents a collection of intimate stories through textiles. This exhibition honors the bodily knowledge associated with the experience of making, living and encountering fabric objects.

Inspired by her Peruvian heritage, artist Sarah Zapata utilizes traditional weaving, coiling and latch-hook techniques to produce exuberant abstracted installations. In their complex combination of knit and needle crafts, flamboyant colors and fuzzy textures, her artworks explore how fabric evokes bodies and can subvert references to femininity, domesticity and “bad taste”.

For this program, Zapata will examine the quilts and object-like quilts on view in the exhibition in close dialogue with art historian Julia Bryan-Wilson. With a focus on textile aesthetics and politics, the conversation will draw from the possibilities found in stitching and weaving. We will learn how artists have picked up fabrics to challenge easy binaries and redefine privacy, labor and identity.

Space is limited; advance registration is required. Please consider making a donation when you register to support ongoing virtual programming. Instructions for joining with a Zoom link and password will be provided by email upon registration confirmation under “Additional Information.” Closed captioning will be provided in English. For questions or to request accessibility accommodations, please email

Sarah Zapata is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She has held solo exhibitions with Performance Space New York (NY), Deli Gallery (NY), el Museo del Barrio (NY), amongst others. Her work has been exhibited at the New Museum (NY), Museum of Art and Design (NY), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (NY), Boston University (MA), LAXART (CA), Paul Kasmin (NY), Arsenal Contemporary (NY), EFA Project Space (NY), Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center (NY). Zapata has also completed residencies at the Museum of Arts and Design (NY), Lenore Tawney Foundation at ISCP (NY), A-Z West (CA), and Wave Hill (NY). She has been the recipient of grants from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Dallas Museum of Art. Zapata is a 2019-2020 Literature Fellow with the Queer Art Mentorship program. Her work is held in multiple public and private collections including the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Museum of Art and Design (NY), and Museo de Arte de Lima (Peru). 

Julia Bryan-Wilson is Professor of Art History and LGBTQ+ Studies at Columbia University and Curator-at-Large at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo.  Her books include the award-winning Fray: Art and Textile Politics, and a forthcoming study of Louise Nevelson. 

Image: Sarah Zapata, Siempre X, 2015-2016, Handwoven Fabric, Natural and Synthetic fiber, Hair Extensions, Rhinestone Transfer, 6 x 10 feet/ Drunell Levinson, Vieques, late 20th century, Aluminum wrapped condoms with embroidery thread, 50 x 60 in. American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of the artist, 2018.18.4

6:00 pm–7:15 pm

Virtual; free with registration