Field Trip Friday: Infinite Variety, Three Centuries of Red & White Quilts at the Park Avenue Armory

This past Monday, OHNY program coordinator Hae-In went to see the American Folk Art Museum’s incredible display of quilts in “Infinite Variety:  Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts” at the Park Avenue Armory. The free, satellite exhibition of 650 quilts ran from March 25–30.

Infinite Variety show at the Park Avenue Armory

The largest exhibition of quilts ever held in the city, the red and white American quilts span the 19th – 21st centuries and were all on loan from the collection of Joanna S. Rose.

Rose, a New York quilt collector, has more than 1,300 quilts and wanted to put her entire collection of red and white quilts on public display for her 80th birthday. She received her first quilt, with a red and white schoolhouse design, after the birth of her first child in 1957.

display of quilts

The Park Avenue Armory’s historic 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall was dramatically transformed with the installation’s strikingly design. Thinc Design, a New York-based design firm, won the competition held by the American Folk Art Museum for the quilts’ display. (They are also responsible for the National September 11 Memorial interiors & Museum and the Beijing Olympic Games Pavilion.)

hanging quilts

Built in just two days, Thinc’s innovative design created tiers and spirals of quilts, hanging from wire and paper tubes. Spiraling up to the ceiling, creating circular “rooms,” the quilts also resembled playing cards flying from the deck.

back wall of show

A classic color combination in quilt making, red and white was made popular in the early 19th century due to the synthetic production of Turkey red dye, which was originally derived from madder root in the 1750’s and found to be extraordinarily colorfast.

embroidered detail of President Taft

No two alike, the quilts showcase a variety of patterns, some of them geometric and graphic and others with detailed embroidered imagery — such as the likeness of President William Howard Taft!

quilting bee

The circle of chairs in the center of the installation represented the quilting bee, a traditional 19th-century social gathering where friends and neighbors came together to work on a quilt.

applique hearts and stars

Visit the American Folk Art Museum for the first of a two-part quilting series: Quilts: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum on display through April 24, 2011.

A digital guide to the exhibition, including images of all 650 quilts, is available as a free app for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Android smart phone.

In addition, visitors to the Infinite Variety show can enter a photo contest on the museum’s Flickr pool, the deadline is April 11.

Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue, New York, NY

American Folk Art Museum
45 West 53rd Street, New York, NY

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1 Response to “Field Trip Friday: Infinite Variety, Three Centuries of Red & White Quilts at the Park Avenue Armory”



  1. 1 Red-n-White « Скрипучая беседка Trackback on 2 April 2011 at 7:26 pm

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