KQED: Provocative Textile Art in San Jose Targets America's Tolerance for Mass Shootings

You've got one more week to check out Guns: Loaded Conversations at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. So go!

Few issues are so polarizing politically, but as the number of mass shootings mount, artists across the country are taking to their studios to comment, persuade and provoke.

"I had to use my platform as a curator," says Amy DiPlacido, who says one of her first priorities upon getting the job in San Jose was to do something in response to the shootings at Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 dead and 53 wounded in 2016. But really, take your pick from a host of mass shootings before and after that.

DiPlacido collaborated with the nonprofit Studio Art Quilt Associates, adding local, Bay Area contributions to this international traveling exhibition addressing gun violence. The result is a comprehensive survey of emotion and politics in more than 40 works of textile art.

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Mercury News: Quilt museum invites community to have its say on gun violence

Visitors to “Guns: Loaded Conversations,” the current, thought-provoking show at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, have been quietly giving their opinions on gun control — with spent bullet casings. They do this by dropping a shell, which can be picked up at the front desk, into one of several clear cylinders placed near the entrance labeled with various positions in the debate.

It’s not surprising in the liberal South Bay that “Civilians should only own firearms for hunting and shooting sports” leads the pack, with “Only the military and law enforcement” in second place. But when I last checked, “Civilians should be free to own and operate any firearm” was third, showing there’s still some diversity of opinion coming through the doors.

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Mercury News: San Jose quilt exhibit focuses on firearms, other polarizing issues

The white police officers’ arms wrap around the black victim, strangling him. Stitched in bold, red letters across the victim’s face, “I can’t breathe” has come to symbolize Eric Garner’s plight July 17, 2014, when he died after an encounter with police in New York City.

This image, stitched onto a quilt by Yosief Teckle, questions the role of a police officer in today’s society.

In the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, the common comforter is transformed into a form of personal political expression as professional artists and school-age children stitch their opinions on issues such as police brutality and gun violence. The exhibitions are on display until July 15, when the quilts will be taken down and shipped to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The hallway that leads to the “Guns: Loaded Conversations” multi-artist exhibition and another exhibition by Thomas Knauer is filled with youth artwork, from young children to 21-year-old adults.

“I believe that children shouldn’t be worrying about these adult concepts,” museum exhibition curator Amy DiPlacido said. “They have to become very mature quickly.”

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Metro: 'Guns: Loaded Conversations' at SJMQT

A new quilts exhibition explores guns, violence and American gun culture

 

The latest exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles begins at the box office. Upon purchase of a ticket, guests are not only offered a copy of their receipt, but prior to entering, they are also asked to pick out an empty bullet casing from a glass dish brimming with spent shells.

The weight of a bullet casing seemed insignificant at first, but by the end of viewing "Guns: Loaded Conversations," I found myself turning the shell over and over in my hand as if it were carrying the weight of the nearly 35,000 gun deaths that happen annually in the United States. And that's exactly the point.

While the gun debate takes center stage in the national arena, "Guns: Loaded Conversations" brings the discussion to the local level by asking viewers to consider what role guns should play in a society that's continually challenged by their presence and the right to bear them.

Presented as a collaboration between the Museum of Quilts and Textiles and the Studio Art Quilt Associates—a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art quilt through education—the exhibition has been nearly two years in the making: Amy DiPlacido, curator of exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, was first inspired to bring a show about guns to the museum in 2016 shortly after what was then the deadliest mass shooting in America.

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KRON: Quilt exhibit at San Jose museum takes on gun violence

SAN JOSE (KRON) - The time-honored art of quilting may seem like an odd medium for expressing one's views about guns and gun violence.

But now that's exactly why people are beating a path to a new, if somewhat controversial exhibit at a museum in San Jose. 

"Guns: Loaded Conversations" is the latest show at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. 

The politically-themed exhibit is a collection from artists who have something to say about gun violence. 

Patron Judi Venuto of San Lorenzo is very impressed.

"I'm a quilter myself so seeing this in terms of the social impact is just a little on the awesome side," she said.

Produced by artists from across the country, the various works depict lax gun laws while paying tribute to the victims of gun violence. 

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Mercury News: East Bay “activist quilters” take on gun debate at San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

SAN JOSE — This is not your grandmother’s quilt show.

You won’t find the traditional patterns of Sunbonnet Sue and Prairie Star Patchwork at the newest exhibits of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Instead, with quilted images of Trayvon Martin, the Las Vegas massacre and police shootings, artists from Oakland and Berkeley to New York City are confronting the gun violence debate one cross stitch at a time. With the politically-charged exhibits, the museum is providing a forum for a growing movement of “activist quilters” taking on hard issues with soft textiles.

“One of the challenges is the perception that we are an old fuddy-duddy museum with old quilts,” museum director Nancy Bavor said. “Museums have an opportunity and an obligation to go beyond their walls, to educate the public, provide a place for civil discourse about controversial and difficult topics.”

Alice Beasley poses next to her “Remembering Trayvon”, one of the artworks on display in the new exhibit “Guns: Loaded Conversations” at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Indeed, the craft of quilting has a long history of community-inspired political speech, from supporting prohibition to women’s suffrage. But the messages were often more subtle, including the “Drunkard’s Path” pattern in blue and white which gained popularity during the women’s temperance movement. More recently, memorial quilts were made and exhibited to pay tribute to those who died in the Oklahoma City and Boston terrorist bombings. And at Northern Illinois University’s Pick Museum, a programming series on the history of “Quilting and Human Rights” runs through mid-May.

The San Jose museum’s forays into activism have been bold. Last year, as part of the Women’s March in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election, staff members and volunteers crafted 200 felt uteruses — with bright pink fallopian tubes — to symbolize the power of women and compliment the ubiquitous pink “pussy hats.”

Later this year, the museum and its network of quilters will work with city leaders and join a December gun buyback program, offering quilts and cash for guns. “They’ll be new, attractive quilts you want to snuggle under,” Bavor said.

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KQED: Not Your Grandmother's Quilts in an Exhibition on Gun Violence

The timing is, sadly, just right for a new show at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. It’s called Guns: Loaded Conversations, and if you think quilts are just a collage of pretty patches for beds, museum director Nancy Bavor says think again.

“They are not your grandmother’s quilts," Bavor says. "But what I like to remind people, is that quilt makers for 200 years created political quilts with a wide range of opinions on many different topics."

Quilts were sold in the early 19th century to raise funds for the abolitionist movement, and of course gay rights activist Cleve Jones conceived of the Names Project and AIDS Memorial Quilt in San Francisco in the mid-1980s.

Bavor told me this gun violence show, organized by  Studio Art Quilt Associates, has been in the planning for two years. It's their way of marking the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. But the horrors of Las Vegas and Parkland High School have made the exhibition even more relevant.

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On Anniversary Of Columbine, San Jose Quilt Museum Joins Gun Conversation

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (SJMQT) announced today that it will unroll a trailblazing array of exhibitions and events intended to spark dialogue in relation to the complicated and multifaceted topic of gun violence in America.

SJMQT will be displaying the exhibitions Guns: Loaded Conversations (in collaboration with Studio Art Quilt Associates) and Generation of Change: A Movement, Not a Moment (from the East Bay-based Social Justice Sewing Academy), with an Opening Reception from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, 2018. The exhibitions will be on display through July 15, 2018. Co-curated by Studio Art Quilt Associates juror Vicky Clark and SJMQT Curator of Exhibitions, Amy DiPlacido, the exhibition presents a powerful display of art works and related in-gallery programming, intended to promote conversation, understanding and reflection on gun issues facing this country. Guns: Loaded Conversations is supported by theprestigious X Factor Arts Grant from SV Creates.

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Enriching Education: San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Enriching Education: San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (SJMQT) announced today that it will unroll a trailblazing array of exhibitions and events intended to spark dialogue in relation to the complicated and multifaceted topic of gun violence in America. SJMQT will be displaying the exhibitions Guns: Loaded Conversations (in collaboration with Studio Art Quilt Associates) and Generation of Change: A Movement, Not a Moment (from the East Bay-based Social Justice Sewing Academy), with an Opening Reception from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, 2018. The exhibitions will be on display through July 15, 2018. Co-curated by Studio Art Quilt Associates juror Vicky Clark and SJMQT Curator of Exhibitions, Amy DiPlacido, the exhibition presents a powerful display of art works and related in-gallery programming, intended to promote conversation, understanding and reflection on gun issues facing this country. Guns: Loaded Conversations is supported by theprestigious X Factor Arts Grant from SV Creates.

SAQA's Three-Year Traveling Exhibition

SAQA's Three-Year Traveling Exhibition

Vision Quilt is featured in the upcoming Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) exhibition, Guns: Loaded Conversations. The exhibition premieres on April 20th at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, with an opening reception on April 22nd. A traveling exhibition, Guns: Loaded Conversations will be exhibited around the country for the next three years.

San Francisco Magazine: A New Exhibition Takes on Gun Violence in an Unexpected Medium: Quilting

San Francisco Magazine: A New Exhibition Takes on Gun Violence in an Unexpected Medium: Quilting

 

Jill Kerttula never considered herself an activist artist. Until those 12 minutes on October 1, 2017. That’s how long Stephen Paddock spent shooting up a crowd at a music festival in Las Vegas from his hotel room across the street. “It was inconceivable to me, and it was time to say something,” Kerttula says. The result is American Opportunity, the 30-by-40-inch quilt pictured above. Its 851 puncture holes echo the number of people injured that night in Las Vegas; an X is stitched over 58 of the holes to symbolize fatalities.

Mercury News' Sal Pizarro: Explore new threads at San Jose’s quilt museum

In the eight months since she became executive director of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, Nancy Bavor has tried to get one message out to the public: “This is not your grandmother’s quilt museum.”

Regulars in downtown San Jose’s art scene certainly know that the museum — which first opened in 1977 — regularly explores cutting edge work in textile art, showcasing cultural pieces that illustrate how much our world really is connected by threads. But it’s a harder message to get out to the general public, Bavor says, which often thinks of quilts as something quaint that you curl up under on the couch or find hanging in a craft fair.

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A whole lot of tapestry weaving in one place