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.
Alongside the American quilt exhibition, Sonoma Valley students will display their class projects that reveal the roles that shape, color, and value play in quilt patterns, and how these young artists both followed and broke the rules to create their own maverick designs. Initiated in 2000, Art Rewards the Student (A.R.T.S.) is the Museum's longest- running education program that places teaching artists in 4th- and 5th-grade classrooms throughout Sonoma Valley at no cost to the schools.