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The Maker’s Hand Edition

Freedom Quilt; Jessie B. Telfair (1913–1986); Parrott, Georgia;1983; Cotton, with pencil; 74 x 68 in.; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York; Gift of Judith Alexander in loving memory of her sister, Rebecca Alexander, 2004.9.1; Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Have you ever considered that when you look at objects in a museum, you aren’t just looking at a thing but also a history of a person, time and place? In return, the items on view help you create a personal link between the present and past, learning something about then and applying it to now. If that doesn’t seem interesting, then maybe the American Folk Art Museum in Lincoln Square can change your mind. Their latest show American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection presents this country’s history through works of art and utilitarian objects, using documentation from a wide variety of sources to engage visitors’ interest. The narratives are absorbing, the art is fascinating, and the show will give anyone new insights into their own life as well as the panorama of American history. More information can be found in the ‘Gallery Shows’ section.

Clothing. Copyright 2019 AMUSE INC. Courtesy of Amuse Museum, Chuzaburo Tanaka Collection

Another way that art links the past to the present can be seen at Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics, the Japan Society Gallery’s new exhibition. This form of fabric preservation was born out of necessity, used to alter and strengthen existing material for the harsh life and climate of northern Japan. Using simple stitching with layered fabrics was a practical solution that reduced wastage while also creating garments and household goods used by several generations. The show has 19th and early 20th century textiles as well as modern counterparts, illustrating similarities and differences of fabrics, techniques, and intent. The contemporary works tend to emphasize the reuse-renew-recycle aspect of the technique (one of fashion’s latest trends), but we can’t imagine anyone concentrating on that when they see these gorgeous clothes. Learn more about the show in our ‘Opening This Week’ section.