Explore the exhibition
The artists’ unique visual vernacular exists in tender dialogue with, and in homage to, the contributions of the Gee’s Bend Alabama quilters – Black American women in collective cooperation and creative economic production – and their enduring legacy as a radical meeting place, a prompt, and as intergenerational inspiration. This exhibition acknowledges the work of Gee’s Bend quilters such as Sarah Benning (b. 1933), Missouri Pettway (1902-1981), Lizzie Major (1922-2011), Sally Bennett Jones (1944-1988), Mary Lee Bendolph (b.1935), and so many more, as central to expanded histories of abstraction and modernism.
The quilts were originally produced for functional purposes and family use. Over time cooperatives such as The Freedom Quilting Bee (established in 1966 in Rehoboth, Alabama and remaining in operation until 2012) and the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective (established in 2003) were impactful in shaping an alternative economic model that allowed for the quilters to raise funds for their community. The Freedom Quilting Bee also played a key role in political consciousness-raising, active participants in the drives for voting rights and advocates within the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Over time, a dynamic dialogue surrounding their work has expanded to international acclaim and enduring critical resonance.
On View in New York
Curated by Legacy Russell, Executive Director & Chief Curator of The Kitchen, ‘The New Bend’ is on view until 2 Apr 2022.