Curated by Legacy Russell, Executive Director & Chief Curator of The Kitchen, ‘The New Bend’ travels from the gallery’s Los Angeles location to Somerset in late January. The exhibition brings together 13 contemporary artists working in the raced, classed, and gendered traditions of quilting and textile practice – Anthony Akinbola, Eddie R. Aparicio, Dawn Williams Boyd, Myrlande Constant, Ferren Gipson, Tomashi Jackson, Basil Kincaid, Eric N. Mack, Sojourner Truth Parsons, Tuesday Smillie, Rachel Eulena Williams, Qualeasha Wood, and Zadie Xa.
Their unique visual vernacular exists in tender dialogue with, and in homage to, the contributions of the Gee’s Bend Alabama quilters – Black American women in collective cooperation and creative economic production – and their enduring legacy as a radical meeting place, a prompt, and as intergenerational inspiration. This exhibition acknowledges the work of Gee’s Bend quilters such as Sarah Benning (b. 1933), Missouri Pettway (1902-1981), Lizzie Major (1922-2011), Sally Bennett Jones (1944-1988), Mary Lee Bendolph (b.1935), and so many more, as central to expanded histories of abstraction and modernism.
Coinciding with the traveling exhibition, the gallery presents ‘Community Lab: Threads of Connection’ – An interactive space that fosters social connections through artmaking, evolving from LA to Somerset. Alongside a range of practical workshops, the Community Labs provide opportunities to learn more about the Gee’s Bend quilters through an extensive timeline of the Alabama region and documentary provided by Souls Grown Deep.
The New Bend press release