Just returned from seeing the Quilt National 2013 opening at the St. Louis University art gallery. The imposing structure on Lindell Blvd. looked like a museum which had the effect of adding a sense of importance to our art. The opening was well attended by the sponsors from 4-6 pm and they got most of the tidbits upstairs at the wine bar. Once the public was allowed in at 6, the sponsors seemed to disappear. I'd be interested in their take on the show since it revolves around raising funds for the Safe Connections shelter for women and teenagers. Their efforts to include the show over the years has been successful. There will be more news about this posted to the Quilt National artists website in the future.
Normally I hate openings. It is very difficult for me to be in public speeking about my artwork. I have always threatened to install a web cam where I can see how it went from a safe distance. This time however I had a good friend with me who bolstered my confidence and encouraged me to participate. I met several people who applauded my work and posed challenging questions about it.
A bonus of seeing the exhibition was that there was a second floor gallery with some surprising pieces by Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Richard Serra, Robert Motherwell and Andy Warhol. Imagine that, art quilts in a main gallery of a collection like that. In addition they had a Speaking of Fibers 2013 exhibition of works from Missouri artists which had some compelling statement pieces within it. .
I did have some reservations about the show. The quilts seemed very crowded on the walls. Some were stacked (as on the wall on which my quilt was hanging) and some were hanging from the ceiling that allowed people to see the back of the piece (probably not intended by the artist in some cases.) Diane Firth's wonderful translucent piece, Storm was hanging on a gray wall that didn't help the viewer see the dimension this quilt can have with good lighting. The curator of the exhibit said she did not receive any instructions for hanging the art from the QN administration which affected my piece significantly. There was a droop at the top of it where the piece was supposed to be a convex curve. They were using round poles for hanging and the bulge was apparent in most cases. I think we might want to think about new ways of communicating to curators when the show is sent to other galleries.
All in all, though, I was happy to attend the opening and met some folks who were enthusiastic about the art form. I very rarely got that annoying question or statement about grandma (though most people still ask how long it took to make it). If you are anywhere near St. Louis make a point of stopping in. I think it is free to the public. (and just blocks away is some of the best Italian food I have tasted in a long time with hard to resist Italian bakeries nearby to take some calories home...mm mm good)