Montgomery, AL – Throughout history, quilts have held an important and cherished place in our culture, particularly in the American South. Though the materials and techniques of quilt making may be common; quilts, as process, as art, and as image, embody the very fabric of our country.
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has recently added 10 more modern African-American quilts from West Alabama to its permanent collection. They were acquired through a partial purchase and a generous donation from Mr. Kempf Hogan of Birmingham, Michigan, bringing the total number of the Museum’s African-American quilts to 60.
The Museum’s quilt acquisitions began in 2004, with the collection exhibited for the first time in the Museum’s Lowder Gallery during the Spring of 2006 as a part of the opening celebrations of a building expansion that added 23,000 square feet. The quilts were gathered by Hogan over a period of many years with the guidance and expertise of Dr. Robert Cargo, of Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, now located in Paoli, Pennsylvania.
The MMFA’s collection includes the work of a diverse group of African-American quilters working in Alabama and Mississippi during the last half century such as Yvonne Wells, Nora Ezell, Mary Maxtion, and Joanna Pettaway and focuses on quilts made primarily between the mid-1950’s and the end of the 20th century.
The Museum will again highlight a significant portion of the collection, including many of the new acquisitions, July 25 through September 27, 2009 in an exhibition entitled African-American Quilts from West Alabama. The works included will survey well-known quilt patterns and narratives.
A variety of programs are planned to place the quilts and their makers in the context of their community and personal histories. In addition, the exhibition will be made available for national travel following its closing in Montgomery. For more information, call 334.240.4333.