The Easel

Archives: Art in America

19th October 2021

What quilts mean now

Despite too much jargon, this piece covers an interesting issue. American quilts were first presented as works of art in a 1971 exhibition. What kind of art are they – objects of beauty, autobiography, symbols of exploitation? Although better scholarship has dispelled the more nostalgic interpretations, quilts remain hard to read. Given their complex history, they are “multivalent things; they speak different words to different ears”.