A New Museum Exhibition Showcases Quilts Made by Men During War

The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

During the 18th and 19th centuries, wounds weren’t the only things being stitched after battle. Some military men crafted quilts—and starting this fall, 29 of these wartime relics will go on display in New York as part of a new exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum.

“War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts From Military Fabrics” opens on September 6, 2017, and runs through January 7, 2018. Organized in conjunction with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s International Quilt Study Center & Museum, it’s billed as the first exhibition in the U.S. to highlight quilts made by men during times of war.

“Men, who are not usually raised learning the sewing arts, show both design acumen and manual dexterity as they sewed pieces of military uniforms, blankets, and other bits of fabric into quilts of great beauty,” said Anne-Imelda Radice, the American Folk Art Museum’s executive director, in a press release. “These quilts offer an insight into military life and the need for creative expression even during times of war.”

Many of the quilts in “War and Pieced” are on loan from noted Australian quilt scholar Annette Gero, who co-curated the exhibit with Stacy C. Hollander, the museum’s chief curator. Others have been borrowed from private and public collections in the U.S.

According to Gero, "there are fewer than 100 of these quilts in the world, and no two are alike.” The ones that will go on display in September range from pictorial quilts made during the Austro-Turkish, Prussian, and Napoleonic wars to mosaic-like quilts stitched by the British soldiers, sailors, and regimental tailors who engaged in far-flung conflicts in South Africa and India.

Some quilts on display depict war themes, while others are decorated with scenes from folk tales, national symbols, or architectural monuments. Meanwhile, blankets with particularly elaborate designs may have been made for loved ones back home or upon a soldier’s return. Together, they reveal the seldom-told stories of men who used crafts to cope as they convalesced from injuries, were interned in prisoner-of-war camps, or struggled with boredom, loneliness, and a shifting geopolitical landscape.

You can view three such unique examples below, or visit the American Folk Art Museum in September to see the full display in person.


Holy Roman Empire Intarsia Quilt, Artist unidentified, Prussia or Austria, 1846–1851
© SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT 7 Wool, with embroidery thread; intarsia; hand-appliquéd and hand-embroidered, 120 x 120" Collection International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2011.068.0001)

"War and Pieced," a new exhibition organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York, showcases quilts made by men during times of war.
Soldier’s Hexagon Quilt, Artist unidentified, Crimea or United Kingdom, Late 19th century, Wool from military uniforms, 85 inches by 64 inches
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

"War and Pieced," a new exhibition organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York, showcases quilts made by men during times of war.
Anglo-Zulu War Army Quilt, Artist unidentified, South Africa or United Kingdom, Late 19th century, Wool from military uniforms, with embroidery thread; hand-embroidered, with pointed and pinked edges, 86 5/8 inches by 74 7/8 inches
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

Turn Your Favorite Photos Into Works of Art With Google’s Art App

Edvard Munch's "The Scream"
Edvard Munch's "The Scream"
Edvard Munch, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

If your local art museum is closed, a new app from Google Arts & Culture will make the photos in your camera roll worthy of gallery consideration. As Gizmodo reports, the Art Transfer feature uses artificial intelligence to reimagine any image you upload in the style of a famous artist.

If you've already downloaded Arts & Culture for Android or iOS, hit the camera icon at the bottom of the app and select Art Transfer. From here, you can either snap a photo or choose an existing picture saved on your phone. Google then gives you a variety of art styles to choose from. You can transform your cat into Edvard Munch's The Scream, for example, or turn your brunch pic from last month into a piece of Yayoi Kusama pop art.

The feature doesn't just apply filters; it uses machine learning to edit the colors, textures, and even shapes in the image you upload.

Dog image inspired by Man from Naples.
Michele Debczak/Mental Floss, Google Arts & Culture

Pizza picture inspired by The Scream.
Michele Debczak/Mental Floss, Google Arts & Culture

Two years ago, Google Arts & Culture rolled out a similar feature that matched users' selfies to their art lookalikes. The difference with this one is that instead of showing you existing art, it creates an entirely new image by combining your photo with a famous artwork.

You can download Arts & Culture for free today from the App Store or Google Play. After having fun with the new feature, you can use the app to virtually explore landmarks, museums, and other cultural institutions from the comfort of your home.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Kids Can Join Children's Book Author Mo Willems for Daily "Lunch Doodles" on YouTube

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

For children interested in taking drawing lessons, there are few better teachers than Mo Willems. The bestselling author and illustrator has been charming young readers for years with his Pigeon picture book series. Now, from the Kennedy Center, where he's currently the artist-in-residence, Willems is hosting daily "Lunch Doodles" videos that viewers can take part in wherever they are. New lessons are posted to the Kennedy Center's YouTube channel each weekday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

With the novel coronavirus outbreak closing schools across the country, many kids are now expected to continue their education from home. For the next several weeks, Willems will be sharing his time and talents with bored kids (and their overworked parents) in the form of "Lunch Doodles" episodes that last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. In the videos, Willems demonstrates drawing techniques, shares insights into his process, and encourages kids to come up with stories to go along with their creations.

"With millions of learners attempting to grow and educate themselves in new circumstances, I have decided to invite everyone into my studio once a day for the next few weeks," Willems writes for the center's blog. "Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons. We are going to doodle together and explore ways of writing and making."

If kids don't want to doodle during lunch, the videos will remain on YouTube for them to tune in at any time. The Kennedy Center is also publishing downloadable activity pages to go with each episode on its website [PDF]. For more ways to entertain children in quarantine or isolation, check out these livestreams from zoos, cultural institutions, and celebrities.

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