The University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute will display the “International Honor Quilt,” a collaborative feminist art project initiated by famed artist Judy Chicago, in its entirety for the first time Feb 1-March 19.
There also will be a free, public reception 6-8 p.m. Feb. 12 in Hite’s Schneider Galleries during which noted feminist artist Suzanne Lacy, a contemporary of Chicago’s, will speak.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to enjoy seeing the ‘International Honor Quilt’ and learn about our plans to use it as a tool for collaboration, education and dialogue around women’s issues and history,” said Maggie Leininger, assistant professor and director of the International Honor Quilt Project.
The exhibition, “Capturing Women’s History: Quilts, Activism and Storytelling,” will include both the “International Honor Quilt” and the “Hot Flash Fan,” a work that incorporates a mixed-media approach to quilting by 50 Kentucky artists.
The nonprofit art organization Through the Flower, founded by Chicago, gifted the quilt, an assemblage of more than 550 quilted triangles honoring women, for research and study. In 2013, after the quilt spent almost 25 years in storage, Louisville resident Shelly Zegart, an international quilt expert, served as the catalyst for placing the project with the university. Marilee Schmit Nason, a curator of collections at the Albuquerque Museum, compiled and cataloged materials related to the quilt.
The colorful array of individual, interchangeable 2-foot triangles represents a wide range of stories from makers who answered Chicago’s invitation to submit quilts honoring women of the quiltmaker’s choice. The artwork was created in 1980 and accompanied Chicago’s “The Dinner Party,” a worldwide traveling exhibition celebrating women’s achievements throughout history.
The quilt depicts a range of subjects from world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II, well-known figures such as author Agatha Christie and groups such as the League of Women Voters to the mothers, grandmothers, artists and teachers who influenced the quilters. Most quilts are accompanied by descriptions of their makers and subjects. An online database of individual pieces and the stories of the women behind them is available at uofl.me/intl-honor-quilt.
An accompanying exhibition of Chicago’s work will be at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts, 100 E. Main St. Feb. 18 – April 16. “Fire Works” explores Chicago’s work in glass, pyrotechnics and smoke.
For more information on the quilt, contact Leininger at 502-852-0906 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the “Fire Works” display, contact Chris Reitz at 502-852-2566 or email@example.com.