MAR 05 Gallery Talk: Fabulous Functionality

Fabric form and function!

Looking for some artistic and intellectual nourishment during your lunch break? Join us on Wednesdays for short gallery talks to explore highlights from special exhibitions and NMWA’s collection with museum staff.

This week, Assistant Educator Ashley W. Harris discusses selections from “Workt by Hand”: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts. This talk will center on the often conflicting, yet complementary, notions of what quilts are—fine art worthy of display and functional fabrics fit for household use.  


Over time, quilts have been revered as nostalgic emblems of the past, dismissed as women’s work, and hailed as examples of American ingenuity. This exhibition breaks new ground by examining quilts through the lens of contemporary feminist theory. Revealing this medium’s shifting cultural status, the exhibition explores issues of anonymity versus authorship and fine art versus craft.

National Museum of Women in the Arts