September eNews 2011

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Date: Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 3:09 PM
Subject: September eNews 2011

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The American Folk Art Museum is pleased to be continuing operations at 2 Lincoln Square, located on Columbus Avenue at 66th Street. We urge our members and friends to visit the current exhibition, Super Stars: Quilts from the American Folk Art Museum, which is on view through December.

We are aware of recent reports in the media about the future of the Museum. There has been no decision to dissolve the Museum or transfer its collection to another institution. Like any institution, the Museum is actively engaged in planning for its future and is considering a variety of alternatives, all aimed at the paramount objective of preserving its collection for the benefit of the public. If the planning process results in a new direction or structure for the Museum, a public announcement will be made.

We are touched by the outpouring of support in these past weeks and thank you for your continued enthusiasm. Please visit our website to join, renew your membership, or make a contribution. If you have questions about your membership, please contact Elizabeth Kingman, assistant director of development, at 212. 265. 1040, ext. 346, or We look forward to welcoming each of you to our reinvigorated home at Lincoln Square.


Super Stars: Quilts from the American Folk Art Museum (through December 2011)

Quiltmakers have always sought inspiration from the world around them, introducing the outdoors into the domestic interior through bedcovers that may reflect the colors of the landscape, the imagery of flowers in a garden, or animal and insect life. These associations are explored in the exhibition “Super Stars,” which highlights the dazzling diversity of this variable pattern in more than one hundred years of quilt artistry. More >

9/11 National Tribute Quilt (on continuous view)

The 9/11 National Tribute Quilt represents the response of the Steel Quilters of United States Steel Corporation to the events of September 11, 2001. This small quilt club conceived the monumental undertaking, ultimately receiving quilt blocks from all fifty states as well as Canada, Spain, Denmark, and Australia. The quilt measures eight feet high by 30 feet wide, and is constructed of 3,466 blocks in six panels. The four central panels form a montage of the twin towers of the World Trade Center against the New York City skyline. These are flanked by panels dedicated to the lives extinguished on the four flights and at the Pentagon. Each three-inch-square block bears the name of one person who perished in the disaster. More>

Traveling Exhibition—Kaleidoscope Quilts: The Art of Paula Nadelstern (June 18–October 2, 2011, at the Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio)

Every artist must find a voice that feels true and strong. Paula Nadelstern (b. 1951) found hers early in her career as a quilt artist, inspired by a bolt of sensuous and beautiful Liberty of London fabric. The bilateral symmetry of the design was an epiphany that stirred Nadelstern’s imagination and that has yielded a seemingly infinite vein of creative expression for more than twenty years. More >

Click here for online catalog

The exhibition will travel to the School of Art and Design at Endicott College, Beverly, Massachusetts, March 25–June 16, 2012.

Upcoming Programs & Events

Free Tours

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm. For a full calendar of tours and gallery programs, click here.

Live Music

Guitar Afternoon
Enjoy free live music performed by jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel and guest musicians each Wednesday from 2 to 3 pm.

Free Music Fridays
Enjoy free live music each Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, hosted by Lara Ewen. This month features performances by: Paul Basile, Mark Geary, E.W. Harris, Martin Rivas, Jessi Robertson, John Schmitt, Casey Shea, Sweet Soubrette, and Greg Thomas.

9/11 Programs: National Tribute Quilt and Quilts of Conscience
September 8, 10, & 11 at 1 pm

The 30-foot-long National Tribute Quilt is a monumental response to the events of September 11, 2001, spearheaded by the Steel Quilters of United States Steel Corporation. Incorporating 3,466 blocks from all fifty states and several international countries, it has been on continuous view since the first anniversary of 9/11 in 2002. The museum will mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with a series of public discussions centered around the National Tribute Quilt on September 8, 10, and 11.

On September 8 and 10, docents will lead visitors through a discussion of the quilt, looking at it as a unique memorial and incorporating it into an examination of quilts on view throughout the galleries.

On September 11, curator emerita Lee Kogan will discuss the powerful and poignant quilt within the context of America’s long tradition of quilts of conscience, quilts that have been created to express the quiltmaker’s views on pressing political, social, and environmental issues.

Admission and programs are free.

Maker Faire
The New York Hall of Science
Saturday, September 17
10 am to 7 pm
Sunday, September 18
10 am to 6 pm

The museum is participating in the Maker Faire, which returns to the New York Hall of Science this September for two unforgettable days of science, art, and DIY culture. This exciting weekend of fun centers on creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness in all forms, and the museum will be on hand leading two family craft projects inspired by objects from the museum's collection. For more information about the fair or to purchase tickets, click here.

Folk Art Fun

Connect and Interact with the Museum

The museum has a YouTube channel. Watch senior curator Stacy C. Hollander and guest curator Elizabeth V. Warren highlight some of the many bedcovers on view in “Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum” and check back often for more behind-the-scenes tours and collection highlights.

We have also launched a Flickr group so that visitors to the museum may share photos. If you have images from your museum experience you would like to share with us, join and upload!

And don′t forget to stay in touch with the museum through Facebook and Twitter.

Collection Highlight

Representational images such as this finely carved hanging sheep are among the oldest types of shop signs, along with painted signboards. While its origin is lost in time, the practice can be traced to at least the late Middle Ages, when the resurgence of commerce and growth of trade sparked economic development throughout Europe. In Britain, hanging sheep traditionally referred to the Golden Fleece, the object of Jason’s ancient quest with the Argonauts. Appropriately, sheep were most commonly used as signs for woolen drapers, or dealers in woolen cloth, and, to a lesser extent, by all trades related to cloth and clothing.

Throughout the nineteenth century, three-dimensional images remained a popular way for merchants to identify and advertise their places of business in America as well as England. The signs retained their symbolic function and many familiar associations long after the general rise of literacy had rendered their original purpose obsolete. Recalling the 1870s and 1880s, Louis Jobin, a well-known French Canadian carver, once remarked that in addition to creating religious figures and altars, “above all I made signs. . . . I created a hanging sheep, to represent a tailor.” This example is particularly well executed. The sloping body and delicately carved forelegs and hooves that hang straight down create a strongly naturalistic presence that convincingly transmits the impression of an actual animal suspended by a metal band around its middle.

Folk Art Challenge

Thanks to everyone who entered August’s Folk Art Fun contest and congratulations to our winner, Naghma Husain. The Flag Gate has been a jewel in the museums crown ever since it appeared in the inaugural exhibition of 1962. Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr., one of the museum’s founders, enjoyed telling friends that he spotted it at an Americana auction among garden furniture. His donation of the gate—the first object in the museum’s permanent collection—served to motivate others to donate similarly treasured objects, and a collection was born.

This month’s challenge: Sheldon Peck began painting about 1820 in his native Vermont before moving to western New York and then to Illinois. Peck’s earliest efforts were stark and sober bust-length portraits on wooden panels. In Illinois, he introduced a brighter palette and a larger format of full-length figures, as seen in this example. What was the unusual form of payment Peck accepted for this portrait of Janette Wilhelmina (1840–1861) and her paternal grandmother, Anna Gould Crane (1774–?)?

To win a copy of Painted Saws/Jacob Kass, e-mail your answer to Elizabeth Kingman at, with “Folk Art Fun” in the subject line.

STAR OF BETHLEHEM WITH SATELLITE STARS QUILT (detail) / artist unidentified / possibly Pennsylvania / 1930–1950 / cotton and blends / 81 1/4 x 81 in. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick M. Danziger, 1985.4.1 / photo by Helga Studios

NATIONAL TRIBUTE QUILT / organized and assembled by the Steel Quilters / Pittsburgh / 2002 / cotton and mixed media / 8 x 30 ft. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of the Steel Quilters: Kathy S. Crawford, Amber M. Dalley, Jian X. Li, and Dorothy L. Simback, with the help of countless others in tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on America, 2002.14.1

KALEIDOSCOPIC XXX: TREE GRATE, 53RD AND 7TH / Paula Nadelstern (b. 1951) / Bronx, New York / 2004 / machine-pieced and hand-quilted cotton and obi silk / 51 1/2 x 58 1/2 in. / collection of the artist / photo by Karen Bell

HANGING SHEEP SHOP SIGN / artist unidentified / Northeastern United States, Canada, or England / Mid-19th century / paint and traces of gold leaf on wood with metal / 33 x 38 x 9 in. / American Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.57 / photo © 2000 John Bigelow Taylor, New York

ANNA GOULD CRANE AND GRANDDAUGHTER JANETTE / Sheldon Peck (1797–1868) / Aurora, Illinois / c. 1845 / oil on canvas / 35 1/2 x 45 1/2 in. / American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Ralph Esmerian, P1.2001.52 / photo by Stephen Donelian

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