top of page

Mother-Taught: Matrilinear Needlework

9/23/23 Saturday Lecture with Julia Bryan-Wilson


The Matrilinear Needlework of Madalena Santos Reinbolt, Rosie Lee Tompkins, and Pacita Abad


Saturday, 9/23/23 10am PT

Presented In-Person *and* via Zoom

Koret Auditorium, de Young museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco


In-Person Tickets: $5, sold at the door only \ free for TAC members


Virtual Tickets (Zoom): $5 Members of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Students. $10 General Admission \ free for TAC members.


A recording will be available for two weeks following the talk.


Examining Brazilian embroiderer Madalena Santos Reinbolt, Filipinia artist Pacita Abad, and African American quilter Rosie Lee Tompkins, Julia Bryan-Wilson considers how embellishment, particularly needlework, has served as a strategy for mother-taught artists whose work frequently blurs the lines between function and décor. Though located in distinct geographies and rooted in different identifications, these three artists have much in common, and this talk takes seriously their decision to adorn the objects of domestic life. In doing so, Bryan-Wilson speculates about how their handcrafted practices open onto more expansive art histories.


Julia Bryan-Wilson is Professor of Art History and LGBTQ+ Studies at Columbia University and Curator-at-Large at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo. She is an influential queer feminist art historian, critic, and curator who has organized exhibitions on women's making before 1900, histories of dance, and monographic shows on Liz Collins, Louise Nevelson, and Cecilia Vicuña. Her award-winning books include Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (2009), Fray: Art and Textile Politics (2017), and Louise Nevelson's Sculpture: Drag, Color, Join, Face (2023). Some of Bryan-Wilson’s numerous accolades are a Guggenheim fellowship, grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts, CAA’s Frank Jewett Mather Award, the Art Journal article award, the ASAP Book Prize, and the Robert Motherwell Award. She has also won multiple awards for her teaching and her mentorship.


Madalena Santos Reinbolt, untitled, c. 1969-1977, acrylic yarn on burlap.
Madalena Santos Reinbolt, untitled, c. 1969-1977, acrylic yarn on burlap.

From the publisher of Byran-Wilson's Fray: Art and Textile Politics:


Closely examining how amateurs and fine artists in the United States and Chile turned to sewing, braiding, knotting, and quilting amid the rise of global manufacturing, Julia Bryan-Wilson argues that textiles unravel the high/low divide and urges us to think flexibly about what the politics of textiles might be. Her case studies from the 1970s through the 1990s—including the improvised costumes of the theater troupe the Cockettes, the braided rag rugs of US artist Harmony Hammond, the thread-based sculptures of Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, the small hand-sewn tapestries depicting Pinochet’s torture, and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt—are often taken as evidence of the inherently progressive nature of handcrafted textiles. Fray, however, shows that such methods are recruited to often ambivalent ends, leaving textiles very much “in the fray” of debates about feminized labor, protest cultures, and queer identities; the malleability of cloth and fiber means that textiles can be activated, or stretched, in many ideological directions. — University of Chicago Press

Σχόλια


bottom of page