Today we went to the Park Avenue Armory to see an exhibit I read about over the weekend. It was called, “Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts”. The name cannot begin to describe the magnificence of the display. All 650 quilts that were brilliantly hung and lit in the cavernous main room of the armory belong to one woman; Joanna Rose. She does not like to be called a collector, but has amassed over 1000 red and white quilts that she stores in a large cedar lined room in the Manhattan apartment she shares with her husband. When he asked her what she wanted for her 80th birthday, she said, “Something I’ve not seen before and something that would be a gift for New York City.” This exhibit is the result.
I could go on at length about the quilts and Ms. Rose, but instead I’ll say only one more thing. My kids were not as excited about going today as I was, but it was one of the few times when I said “I want to see this. We’re going.” The exhibit is up for only 6 days, and it is free. We invited friends to meet us there, and as soon as we walked in the room, there was a collective gasp from our group. When you look at the first photo below, you’ll understand why. This is the best kind of outing – the kids wandered around on their own and at some point were offered white sketch books with red pencils. In one of the photos you’ll see Maya and her friend Maya sitting on the floor in front of one of the quilts, copying the pattern. The quilts were not labeled with dates and pattern names. There was no pressure to ‘learn’ a lot. It was quite simply a visual feast, but I know it made more of an impression than many ‘educational’ tours we’ve taken in various museums in the city.
Ok, that was one than one thing… But I’m done. The rest is told in the pictures. It’s not quite the same as being there, but it’s pretty good.