Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not your grandmother's quilt

I wrote about a panel discussion on art that I attended recently, much of which was kind of the same old discussion heard many times in the past.  But there was something delightfully different.  The subject at hand was the sweet, down-home connotations of quilts and how that affects viewers of contemporary art.

Sometimes artists play along with that stereotype, making quilts that deliberately evoke the meaning of home and nurturing.  But sometimes they can play against the grain, with equally powerful results.

Exhibit A: Scott Scarboro, a mixed media artist, talked about a piece that he had made by divesting a lot of battery-powered toy animals of their skins.  He sewed the skins together to make a blanket or throw, and draped that over a cradle.  Next to it, all the scalped animals danced around wildly.

Here's the blanket, and one of the animals; I wish I had seen the entire installation.  Presumably the sweet, warm furry throw on the cradle doesn't exactly prepare viewers for the live action.  You go, Scott!


  1. Hi, Kathleen. I felt your posts about hanging quilts and respect for them was thoughtful and useful. The installation you show by Scott Scarboro is provocative--certainly an interesting idea, but kind of disturbing as well. hmm. Also thought your post about water and jeans was good.
    best, nadia

  2. thanks, Nadia! I kind of like things that are a bit disturbing -- reminds me of real life. But not sure I would install this piece of art in my grandchild's bedroom.....

  3. Well, it's certainly in the spirit of "recycle/ re-use" and perhaps artfully arranged, but I have to agree -- it has potential as nightmare fodder for the under 10 crowd.

  4. Hi. I stumbled upon your post about my skinned animals and pelt throw.

    here's a video