Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change
Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change brings historical and contemporary works together in critical dialogue to consider how quilts have been used to voice opinions, raise awareness, and enact social reform in the U.S. from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Disrupting our expectations of quilts as objects that provide warmth and comfort, this exhibition will explore the complicated and often overlooked stories quilts tell about the American experience, offering new perspectives on themes including military action and protest, civil rights, gender equality, queer aesthetics, and relationships with land and the environment. While addressing these powerful themes, Radical Tradition will highlight how the strategies and materials of quiltmaking over nearly two centuries have called into question long-established hierarchies, both in the art world and in society at large. Incorporating a wide range of media—from cotton and wool to salvaged wood, paint, and celluloid film—the objects on view will challenge traditional definitions of what a quilt is and the form it can take.
COVID-19 Virtual Quilting Bee
Inspired by Radical Tradition, TMA organized a COVID-19 Virtual Quilting Bee in advance of the exhibition opening. Nearly 100 quilt squares were submitted from across the United States; they will be virtually stitched together for online viewing prior to the opening of Radical Tradition. Community members submitted both traditional patterned quilt blocks and those addressing aspects of life amid the current global pandemic, which marks a moment of change and uncertainty on a global scale. The TMA COVID-19 Virtual Quilting Bee is sponsored by The Electric Quilt Company.
View a slideshow of all the submitted blocks and the assorted digital quilts assembled by The Electric Quilt Company here: toledomuseum.org/quilting-bee