Peterson, Karen E. and Leisa Rundquist. “Valorizing Gee’s Bend Quilts: Affinity, Adjacency, and the Modern Eye” in A Companion to Textile Culture, Jennifer Harris, ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing (2020)
In this chapter, we show how museums, as institutions with embedded strategies for promoting culture, in combination with modernist aesthetic frameworks, played and continue to play a crucial role in the valuation of a handmade, collected textile. In so doing, we examine some of the ways in which advocates of quilts continue to struggle with making an unmitigated case for their artistic value. We also consider ways in which the trajectory of Gee’s Bend quilts highlights the problematics of museum display with regards to textiles not originally intended to be appreciated as fine art.
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