Quilts for the 21st Century: Activism in the Expanded Field of Quilting

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“Quilts for the Twenty-First Century: Activism in the Expanded Field of Quilting” In Handbook of Textiles, eds. Janis Jefferies, Hazel Clark and Diana Wood Conroy. London: Bloomsbury Press, 2014, pp. 197-210.

In this chapter, I begin by exploring the rich history of activist quilting and activist quilt scholarship. I then turn to what I call the expanded field of quilting, following Rosalind Krauss’s (1979: 30-44) term “the expanded field.” Specifically, I analyze the extension of quilting practice in to different contexts and examine the work of a series of artists who do not create traditional quilts but who use the processes of quilting (such as patching, suturing and appliqué) to draw together knowledge, facts, images and artifacts into quilted wholes, often with activist or political intent. I ask whether such works can be read as akin to twenty-first century activist quilts?

Read a full draft here.

image: Mischka Henner, Dutch Landscapes, 2011

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About Kirsty Robertson

Kirsty Robertson is an Associate Professor of contemporary art and museum studies at the University of Western Ontario.

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