Friday, May 13, 2016
Form, Not Function opens tonight -- with something missing
I went to the Carnegie Center for Art and History earlier this week to look at the quilts in Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, which opens this evening. The purpose: to choose a winner for the award for political and social commentary that I have given every year since 2006. I do this award because I want to encourage people to make quilts on serious, even dark subjects, art that will challenge society and its priorities and decisions. Several times in the past there have been more than one piece in FNF that fits the description, and I've had a hard time choosing the winner.
But I was surprised and disappointed to find that not one of the 20 quilts in this year's show had even the remotest connection to political and social commentary. They were beautiful quilts, most of them with superior craftsmanship, but none of them seemed to be about anything that I could identify as socially relevant. Most of the quilts were abstract, so I even looked at the titles to see if any were called something like "climate change" or "homeless" or "failing infrastructure" or "remembering Glass-Steagall" that I could infer to be social or political. No such luck.
I don't know why there was nothing in this year's show that would qualify, and hope it's only a glitch, that commentary will be back with a bang next time.