Do Quilts Still Get No Respect In The Art World?

I pose this question after viewing all the 200 plus entries for the 2015 Akron Art Prize. Among the paintings, photographs, sculptures, plates, installations, prints, etc., I found eight fiber related pieces. Two of them meet the traditional three layer definition of a quilt. One is a fiber sculpture. Three are weavings. One is a paper dress, and one is cloth panels printed with photographs. Let’s see, that works out to 4% of the entries.

Here are photos of the eight entries I’ve put in the fiber category.

Since this prize is a people’s choice thing, the boundaries of what constitutes art is stretched a bit. Much of the work strikes me as more craft than art. Of the entries shown above, only the sculpture meets my personal definition of art. Some of the raw materials used show ingenuity, such as old rock group tee shirts and paper napkins. But I am more aware of the materials used than the overall pieces.

Why so few quilts/fiber creations? My speculation is that many of the prize entrants are art students, and fiber may not be one of the mediums stressed in art school curricula.  A local university has excellent costume and fashion design programs, but those are generally not viewed as art. I know there are art quilters around Akron, yet they may not be part of the local art network.

Why didn’t I enter, you ask? Well, so do I, after viewing the entries. Maybe next year.



Filed under Commentary

9 responses to “Do Quilts Still Get No Respect In The Art World?

  1. Pingback: Respect and the Art Quilt | Fiber Designs by Ann

  2. Predictably, my favorite of the 8 fabric pieces is the super-traditional quilt! I just love craft, I guess. Having said that, I do think you and others in your area who do arts quilts, need to flood this show with your work, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to others that these pieces deserve recognition as art!

    • Your proposal is an excellent one. I don’t know if the quilt you like was an original design or made from a pattern. If the latter, then in my book it is categorized as a reproduction, not original art. I felt the woven pieces were either student work or a piece of cloth, not art.

  3. DeeDee

    I definitely think you should enter. Your quilts are art! Not all quilters can do what you do. I certainly don’t have that artistic streak in me. I love looking at quilts like yours. They are just as inspirational as other kinds of art to me.

  4. I have a lot to say about the question you pose and will blog about it. May I link back to your/this post?

  5. Judith

    I am really glad you are considering entering this yourself. Your work is inspired and inspiring and it is time the Akron art community saw it. So there.

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