In 2002, the Whitney Museum of Art provided the exhibit The Quilts at Gee’’ s Bend, which included the work of 42 quilting artists from the traditionally Black area of Gee’’ s Bend in Alabama. The landmark program catapulted the work of these artists —– all Black American females —– into significantly traditional acknowledgment. In the years that followed, discussions surrounding the effect of these artists have actually frequently stayed foregrounded and retrospective styles of heritage and custom.
Now, some 20 years later on, Legacy Russell, executive director and chief manager of the Kitchen, intends to bring the discussion surrounding the Gee’’ s Bend quilters into “the’present. “ Gee ’ s Bend frequently gets mythologized as if it lives behind us,” ” Russell shared throughout a press sneak peek of The New Bend at Hauser &&Wirth in Chelsea, continuing, ““ I believe it ’ s actually crucial to comprehend that the Gee’’ s Bend quilters are developing worldwide today together with every [artist] in this space.””
. Diedrick Brackens, “ survival is a shrine, not the little area near the limitation of life ”( 2021), cotton and acrylic yarn, 92 x 98 inches.
” The exhibit, curated by Russell, highlights the workof 12 modern artists whose practices incorporate quilting and fiber arts to check out a series of socioeconomic and identity-centered styles. As I got in the large gallery, I was met 2 quilts by Zadie Xa, suspended banner-like from the ceiling. Among the works, “ Ancestor Work: Re-remember/ Black Water Tiger ”( 2021), reveals 2 sly felines circling each other, surrounded by dynamic geometric shapes, as if in play or battle. Representing ecological aspects like wildlife and animals with a whimsical touch, this work, and its buddy piece, thread Xa ’ s interest in folklore and folklore together with elements of her Korean origins, to form spectacular structures. On the wall close-by is a disorderly mixed-media scene by Dawn Williams Boyd representing an unfolding demonstration.
Though the exhibit is framed as having a deep connection to and engagement with Gee ’ s Bend,and the quilting medium, numerous of the art work exist someplace on the periphery of quilting’, or in a different area completely. Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio ’ s massive assemblage and Genesis Jerez’s linen art work, for instance, feel’just loosely linked to the exhibit ’ s thematic core.
Tapestries likewise figure throughout the program. In “ Ctrl+ Alt+ Del ”( 2021), Qualeasha Wood weaves cotton jacquard and glass beads into a self-portrait embellished with MacBook icons, emojis, and clouds. Her signature cyber visual assesses the representation of Black femmehood and questions the manner in which it is taken in and made use of in pop culture, both on and offline. Diedrick Brackens ’ s deep blue tapestry, “ survival is a shrine, not the little area near the limitation of life ”( 2021 ), “illustrates a black shape of a figure with outstretched arms bent in a squat; the figure appears nearly paralyzed, suspended in between an expression of flexibility and one of maintaining an intolerable weight.
. Eric N. Mack, “ Forward strolling young boy on the edge where the sand fulfills the coast “from DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX( 2018), “silk organza, cotton scarf and tulle, 101 1/8 x 185 x 119 1/4 inches( picture by Daria Simone Harper ).
Both of these spectacular works highlight the methods which the act of weaving is carefully associated to types of encoding, ordigital calculation– a point that Russell stressed in her remarks by describing the loom as an early type of digital practice. I was left questioning whether more of a connection might be made in between some of the art work and artists and the artists of Gee ’ s Bend.
The fascinating “ In Submission: Four Eyes One Vision ”( 2021 ), by St. Louis-based’artist Basil Kincaid, reveals 2 abstracted figures with round limbs versus a multilayered background that vibrates with textures and patterns. Originating from a long line of quilters, Kincaid is especially thinking about continuing familial art practices. The highly hued mixed-media quilt highlights the artist ’ s continuous connection to the medium, which has actually stayed a pillar of his multidisciplinary practice.
Russell explained the exhibit as a love letter to the quilters of Gee ’ s Bend. While it consists of a varied variety of thoughtful and lovely art work, lots of handling prompt and crucial concerns, and deserves seeing’for these factors, a more fitting homage may have been to integrate more artists who are engaging with the history and present of Gee’s Bend in direct and deliberate methods.
The New Bend continues at Hauser &Wirth( 542 West 22ndStreet, Chelsea, Manhattan) through April 2. The exhibit was curated by Legacy Russell.
Read more: hyperallergic.com