Radio Juxtapoz, ep 057: Radical Tradition and a Conversation About American Quilts and Social Change
There are those moments, the ones we literally designate as those where history stops and becomes a chapter. In America, you talk of 9/11, Pearl Harbor, Kennedy and MLK being shot, the night Obama was elected. This past Saturday may have been another, when the media call that Biden had won the electoral college sent seismic waves throughout the world. Those instantaneous moments in history change life in that moment.
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Perhaps that’s why we want to share this conversation the week after an election and period of time so dominated by instantaneous social media communication. On November 21, 2020, the Toledo Museum of Art will open Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change, an exhibition that spans centuries and speaks to the physicality, intensity and commitment of oral history. There is beauty in a quilt, initially as an object of warmth, but equally rooted in the process. As the museum notes "quilts have been used to voice opinions, raise awareness, and enact social reform in the U.S. from the mid-nineteenth century to the present." Quilts embody American history, from cotton production to the industrial revolution to civil rights, from gender equality to queer rights. These stories are not just part of an Outsider Art tradition but truly are the very fabric of our lives. Two opposing words, "Radical" and "Tradition" express how we push and pull, grow and heal as a country in flux.
From Gee's Bend quilts, the AIDS Memorial Quilt to the contemporary works of Bisa Butler, there is much to appreciate about the dynamics of quilts and their place in the pantheon of American art. In episode 057 of the Radio Juxtapoz podcast, we speak with Radical Tradition curator Lauren Applebaum of the Toledo Museum of Art on how the pandemic changed her daily life at the museum, the history of Outsider traditions in institutional arts, Toledo's unique history in art and the intricacies of curating an art show on radical traditions while the country itself was undergoing change right on the streets.
The Radio Juxtapoz podcast is hosted by FIFTH WALL TV's Doug Gillen and Juxtapoz editor, Evan Pricco. Episode 057 was recorded via Skype from Toledo, San Francisco, London, October 27, 2020. Radical Tradition is on view at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio starting on November 21, 2020.