Museum revisits landmark quilt exhibit

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 9.30.06 AM.png

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum will present "Revisiting the Art Quilt," a reprise of the groundbreaking exhibition of studio art quilts that brought attention to the work of non-traditional quilters.

The exhibition will be on display Dec. 17-April 3 at the museum. Penny McMorris, one of the two curators of the original exhibition, is guest curator. McMorris will give a gallery talk about the quilts and her interaction with the artists at 3 p.m. April 3.

"The Art Quilt," which opened at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in September 1986, was organized and curated by McMorris and the late Michael Kile. Kile was a San Francisco quilt dealer and co-founder of the Quilt Digest. He invited McMorris, producer and host of two PBS series on quilting, to collaborate with him on the project. Kile and McMorris selected 16 artists whom they considered the leaders in the new field including Nancy Crow, Terrie Mangat, Jan Myers-Newbury, Therese May and Pauline Burbidge. They asked the artists to create new pieces that would challenge the existing definition of "quilt." Large scale quilts, bold in size and intention, were chosen for the show, which subsequently traveled to seven other sites over its three-year run. The exhibition catalog, "The Art Quilt," was co-edited by Kile and McMorris, with an introduction by an art critic from the Village Voice, John Perreault.

The artists exhibited 25 years ago have continued to develop diverse and brilliant careers as leading studio quilt artists known worldwide. Their work resides in significant corporate, private and museum collections. Three quilts from the 1986 exhibition are included in "The 20th Century's Best American Quilts" and artists in the show created 10 percent of the list's quilts.

This reprise of the original show will remind viewers of how prescient Kile and McMorris were in their selection of artists, many of whom remain leaders in the field. For others, it will instill a new appreciation for the nontraditional quilter and their innovative quilts.

The museum will be closed Dec. 24 through Jan. 1. Regular hours resume Jan. 2. For additional information go to or call (402) 472-6549.

- Maureen Ose, International Quilt Study Center and Museum

More details at: