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The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

A New Museum Exhibition Showcases Quilts Made by Men During War

The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

During the 18th and 19th centuries, wounds weren’t the only things being stitched after battle. Some military men crafted quilts—and starting this fall, 29 of these wartime relics will go on display in New York as part of a new exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum.

“War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts From Military Fabrics” opens on September 6, 2017, and runs through January 7, 2018. Organized in conjunction with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s International Quilt Study Center & Museum, it’s billed as the first exhibition in the U.S. to highlight quilts made by men during times of war.

“Men, who are not usually raised learning the sewing arts, show both design acumen and manual dexterity as they sewed pieces of military uniforms, blankets, and other bits of fabric into quilts of great beauty,” said Anne-Imelda Radice, the American Folk Art Museum’s executive director, in a press release. “These quilts offer an insight into military life and the need for creative expression even during times of war.”

Many of the quilts in “War and Pieced” are on loan from noted Australian quilt scholar Annette Gero, who co-curated the exhibit with Stacy C. Hollander, the museum’s chief curator. Others have been borrowed from private and public collections in the U.S.

According to Gero, "there are fewer than 100 of these quilts in the world, and no two are alike.” The ones that will go on display in September range from pictorial quilts made during the Austro-Turkish, Prussian, and Napoleonic wars to mosaic-like quilts stitched by the British soldiers, sailors, and regimental tailors who engaged in far-flung conflicts in South Africa and India.

Some quilts on display depict war themes, while others are decorated with scenes from folk tales, national symbols, or architectural monuments. Meanwhile, blankets with particularly elaborate designs may have been made for loved ones back home or upon a soldier’s return. Together, they reveal the seldom-told stories of men who used crafts to cope as they convalesced from injuries, were interned in prisoner-of-war camps, or struggled with boredom, loneliness, and a shifting geopolitical landscape.

You can view three such unique examples below, or visit the American Folk Art Museum in September to see the full display in person.


Holy Roman Empire Intarsia Quilt, Artist unidentified, Prussia or Austria, 1846–1851
© SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT 7 Wool, with embroidery thread; intarsia; hand-appliquéd and hand-embroidered, 120 x 120" Collection International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2011.068.0001)

"War and Pieced," a new exhibition organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York, showcases quilts made by men during times of war.
Soldier’s Hexagon Quilt, Artist unidentified, Crimea or United Kingdom, Late 19th century, Wool from military uniforms, 85 inches by 64 inches
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios

"War and Pieced," a new exhibition organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York, showcases quilts made by men during times of war.
Anglo-Zulu War Army Quilt, Artist unidentified, South Africa or United Kingdom, Late 19th century, Wool from military uniforms, with embroidery thread; hand-embroidered, with pointed and pinked edges, 86 5/8 inches by 74 7/8 inches
The Annette Gero Collection, Photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios
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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
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Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

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