When I was in NYC a week ago- (geez, it already feels like a MONTH ago I was at Martha Stewart’s Blogger’s Night Out!) I took a quick side trip to the American Folk Art Museum. It was Sunday morning and I had to catch a flight home, and I only had an hour. Not enough time for MoMA, sadly- Matisse needs a little more leeway than that- and MoMA’s pricetag was a little…pricey! So I ventured right next door to the AFAM.
I ponied up my $12 admission fee and took the elevator UP to start my tour. Luckily, you ARE allowed to take non-flash photography, so I DID…and took so many pics I’m going to need to break my trip down into two separate posts. So for this installment, I’m going to focus on one of theÂ current exhibits : “Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands.”
Here’s the intro from the museum:
Female artistic expression in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries followed prescribed time-honored conventions. Most of the graceful works presented in this exhibition, all of which are in the museumâ€™s collection, were created within the strictures of postrevolutionary Republican Motherhood and the Cult of Domesticity. The majority were made during years spent in the cultivation of skills that prepared a young woman to shoulder the many roles required of her in adulthood as a wife and a mother. Others demonstrate that women continued to nourish their creative selves by plying those skills throughout their lives. Yet these paintings, drawings, samplers, quilts, rugs, and other works were artful from conception to execution, were displayed in parlors and best rooms, and conferred status and taste upon both heads of household: male and female.
Stacy C. Hollander, senior curator
And here were some of the photos I took, along with a little commentary…
Women painted in thread….since they mostly were discouraged from using paint and canvas. And, of course, women made their statements using quilts:
Made by Maria Cadman Hubbard, who was 79. Man, I love women quilters!
The next few are collage & painted pieces. These forms, of course,were considered “dainty” enough for women & girls:
Tinsel painting was the art of reverse painting on glass, then backing it with some aluminum or foil to make it sparkle! (I may need to try this.) It was considered a “schoolgirl” art form, and this one was probably made by a young girl.
Ok,Â so by today’s standards this is kind of creepy. But often they didn’t have many pictures or mementos from a deceased love one…and the need to commemorate is intrinsic. Take a look at the next one:
What a lovely way to express one’s grief. Sometimes it was the only outlet for women- who quickly needed to “get past” grief and resume the daily chores (of which there were many.) Working on pieces like these allowed women/girls to grieve, bit-by-bit, over time. Healthy.
So I’ll leave you with the only paint and canvas work by a woman in the show…you know her…
So, dear crafters, this is the end of installment numero uno. I hope you enjoyed this part of the trip. If you did, and you relate to these women crafters, please consider making a donation to AMFA. I read an article that they are in financial trouble, and they need support. They are the ones who are honoring outsider artists and crafters like you and me!
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