STACY C. HOLLANDER, Senior Curator at the AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM – photographed at the opening reception of
‘TALKING QUILTS’, a show which received much critical and popular acclaim, and which ran at the AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM, in their former midtown headquarters building, from Feb 24 – Aug 1, 2004.

MS. HOLLANDER, who is also the Director of Exhibitions at the Folk Art Museum, is one of the most under-the-radar curators in this town, when she is actually one of the best !! truth be told the FOLK ART MUSEUM would be nothing but a dusty storage closet without her intuitive, knowledgeable, and most definitely inspired (!!) oversight.

at a time when individual curators, both institutional and independent, are garnering so much attention – it’s time to put her name – at the top of the list.

Ms. Hollander is standing in front of an old American quilt, titled – ‘Daniel and Amarilla’.
one of the most interesting aspects of this particular quilt, apart from its astonishing message and ‘minimalist’ or bold design is that its history is documented, and its maker is known !! anonymous, NOT !!!!
the quilt was made by LAVINIA ROSE in 1860 (!!) in Cortlandville, New York. relatively large, at 80 x 82 in. it is made of cotton and it is in excellent condition. the exhibit notes state that the quilt is in the collection of Joanna S. Rose, presumably a family member and it’s safe to assume the quilt was greatly respected and received great care – as it was handed down through the family, generation after generation.

Daniel & Amarilla,



and, I’m thinking it was a wedding present ?

BUT, back to the future !!!!!!

Ms. Hollander is really in her element in particular, when she curates quilts shows culled from the big quilt collection that the Folk Art Museum is lucky to hold – for the benefit of all of us. all her quilt shows revolve around a theme and provide a living legacy . . . which brings these old bearers of truth, belief, love and memory, as well as warmth, comfort and skills (!!) back to life again, every time. Apart from being able to impart key facts about her subject, and feed enough info into the brief show brochures or wall titles, to keep the fanatics happy – Ms. Hollander also has a curatorial magic touch, in that she brings full circle her beloved artifacts to full-blown relevance – with the on-going contemporary art world. She is always . . . on point.

the ‘TALKING QUILTS’ show was no exception. . . as these few quotes from the small brochure that accompanied the show easily illustrate:

‘TALKING QUILTS’ explores the visual texture of language as expressed in quilts from the nineteenth century through the present. As an early form of what might be termed “female graffiti,” quilts have historically provided a forum for women to voice opinions and exercise power…

in each of these textile, words play multiple roles and introduce concepts that elicit varying levels of response in the viewer. The words provoke intuitive reactions as visual signifiers. At the same time they initiate the act of reading and the intellectual process of grappling with comprehension and meaning.

Decisions of word choice, graphic strategy, and technique – embroidery, stenciling, pen and ink, piecing, or applique – transform surfaces into monumental assertions of self-identity, statements of belief and support, and blankets of protective prayer, realized through the arc of the artist’s hand.

today we’d call that – information graphics to the finest degree !!

STACY C. HOLLANDER is also the curator behind the current ‘JUBILATION/RUMINATION – Life: Real and Imagined’ exhibit at the museum’s only exhibition site now at 2 Lincoln Sq. – which is a wonderfully imaginative, magical, and really – visionary in its truest sense – selection of artifacts & artwork from the permanent collection.

Ms. Hollander is also the dynamic force behind the museum’s pop-up (!!) exhibit titled, ‘Compass’ at the South Street Seaport – which just scored a huge write-up with tons of great pix – in the New York Times.

see: ‘COMPASS’ – Everyday Treasures Gaze Out to Sea – NEW YORK TIMES.

as someone who has a deep love for all things quilts – I have enjoyed Ms. Hollander’s quilts shows immensely and no matter how much knowledge or hands-on research I have done, and it’s extensive !! there is always a nugget of brand new information in her brief show cards and, often as is the case now – wall notes. it didn’t surprise me one bit when a tour guide recently told me how hands-on Ms. Hollander was in the actual design of the shows as well !! even extending towards handpicking the colors of the walls so that these proud old quilts, rather than retreating to purely ‘academic’ status on white walls – would come to life as the rooms wall hues turned softly from navy blue to pale yellow and orange – in other words, from day to night !!

it’s also no surprise that the American Folk Art Museum, though you have the skills and vision of Stacy C. Hollander, its longtime curator and director of exhibitions, to really thank for that – just put out a press release yesterday stating that they have just received a $1 MILLION GIFT FOR EXHIBITIONS – to be called The David Davies & Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions – named after the generous benefactors.


PORTRAIT of JOHN F. DEMERITT, New England Schoolteacher.
by JOSEPH H. DAVIS (act 1832-37) Probably Barrington, New Hamsphire 1836.
watercolor, pencil & ink on paper, 9 11/16 x 11 in.
American Folk Art Museum, promised gift of Ralph Esmerian, P1.2001.33
& currently on view in the museum’s exhibit, ‘COMPASS’ curated by STACY C. HOLLANDER at the South Street seaport.

for a bit more background & history on the image, see: John F. DEMERITT . . AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM

hello !!!! – DUKE RILEY !!!!!!