Quilts and Color at the MFA Boston- go, go now!

Finally! After a crazy week following my office’s annual fundraiser dinner, I took a week of from work- a week that had been scheduled BEFORE I took this job, and a week I was lucky enough to keep even after the job switch… Then I got back to work, with probably the most on my plate that I had seen since I started the job, and had to get it all done by Friday, 4/11- because my office is completely shut down for Passover. Why do you care about all this detail? You don’t- but it is my excuse for not getting these photos posted faster. Now that I have 7 work days off, I am working on my sewing room change up AND finally delivering promised blog content…

Our trip back home to Boston was amazing. We saw old friends (and their kids!), and lots of family, and many of our favorite places. But one of the biggest highlights of the trip for me was a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, to see the brand spanking new Quilts and Color exhibit. (As an aside, the main reason I picked my undergrad college was to be nearly next door to the MFA, I love it that much…) (Another aside, the flags in the photo are a half mast in honor of the two Boston firefighters who were killed in that horrible fire shortly before our visit back…)

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We were very lucky- the exhibit actually opened the day AFTER we flew home, but my MIL is a member, which meant we got in a week early (and for free)!

The exhibit is from the collection of a pair of collectors- Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy, who sought out antique quilts that spoke about color in unique ways. Rather than being divided by time period or style, the quilts are arranged and display by use of color. That alone was fantastic- a different approach to looking at quilts. Each section had a fabulous intro, as well as a piece of corresponding modern art.

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It’s always wonderful to see quilts appreciated as “real” art, not described as folk art or craft. Not that those things are bad at all, but those words lead to assumptions by viewers. Seeing all these quilts, made by women both known and named, and anonymous, hung on the walls of a respected museum and treated the same as a Vermeer or a Picasso, changes the conversation in a wonderful way. Quilts as art, carefully thought out and created art… not news to us, but still news to some.

The exhibit contained quilts ranging from Baltimore Albums full of exquisite appliqué to a full range of log cabins and from hexies to economy blocks and so much more. The fabric choices were deliberate, and fashionable, and also sometimes astonishingly hard to work with- sateen, anyone? Most were quilted with painstaking detail, but a few were tied. Each quilt was chosen and curated with extreme care, as each is a stellar example of one of the many design and color principles highlighted by the exhibit.

I purchased the use of the interactive guide, and I highly recommend it. Not only is it an audio guide, it actually has images and video as well. It walks you in great detail through either 16 or 18 (I forget…) of the 50+ quilts. The info contained is well worth the $5! (Though I’m going to give a shout out to the Denver Art Museum, and the fact that their special exhibit tickets have included the audio guides at no extra cost for quite some time…)

I’m going to put a sampling of photos from the exhibit below, without many words. If you want to see ALL the many many photos I took, click here to visit them on Flickr. Also, please be kind about photo quality- it was amazing that we were allowed to photograph ANYTHING in the exhibit, but of course, flash was forbidden. So some are blurry or grainy… but still full of beauty!

And now, without further ado, the photos…
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(The other awesome thing? Since we went on Thursday afternoon, a few days before the exhibit was open to the general public, it was nearly empty. We got as close as we could to all these masterpieces, and it was wonderful. I did get so caught up in one quilt that as I backed up to take in the entire piece, I walked smack into another museum visitor. He was very understanding…)

And of course, no museum trip is complete without a stop in the gift shop, just ask my kids. But this was the most amazing exhibit shop ever!

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It was kind of like they raided my real bookshelf, along with my fantasy bookshelf, to get this amazing selection of offerings. Rachel– you’re there!  And so many more authors I love, some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet. So many books on those shelves that have inspired me…

All in all, the exhibit is amazing and a must-see for any quilter or quilt lover. If you are in or near Boston, it is worth the price of admission- plus an interactive guide!

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7 Comments

Filed under Quilts, Travel

7 responses to “Quilts and Color at the MFA Boston- go, go now!

  1. I’m planning on making a trip up this spring!!!! Look awesome!

  2. ellen

    That would be amazing to see!

  3. Wow. Some of those quilts are so stunning!

  4. Thanks for the virtual tour! Amazing quilts.

  5. Thank you for posting this – gives a real flavour of what we are missing on this side of the pond.

  6. Cool quilts. It is great that there is lots of space so you get the chance to see it from distance and admire.

  7. Thanks for inviting me along. That was great tour.

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