Never before has there been an exhibition of maverick quilts like this one. Unconventional and Unexpected shows how primarily anonymous, often self-taught women working below the radar of the art world have often produced quilts for everyday use in their homes, that nonetheless articulate many of the same issues that have been at the core of the development of modern art during the second half of the twentieth century. The exhibition presents a selection of visually stunning pieced quilts and quilt tops from the mid to late 20th century.
America's oldest experiment in utopian, communal living, the United Society of Believers (Shakers) movement was founded in the 18th century. The society reached its apogee of about 6,000 members just before the Civil War and then slowly went into decline.
Yet the Shakers have lasted longer and gained more fame than any other utopian community this country has produced. With the exhibition, we have the opportunity to look back at the origins of a unique American design aesthetic that continues to influence architects, artists, furniture makers, and product designers around the world.