Slide show

I am currently offering the following PowerPoint lecture presentations, which are based on my critically acclaimed books and essays. Like my books, my lectures are both visually stunning and richly informative. Each PowerPoint presentation runs approximately 45 minutes followed by a question and answer period. I am also happy to sign any of my books that attendees want to bring along.

Any of the lectures can be expanded into a longer and more intensive seminar program, and I can also work with you to prepare a lecture specific to your programmatic needs and interests. I have lectured at the American Museum of Folk Art, the de Young Museum of Art, the Fenimore Art Museum, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Sotheby's, and many other institutions. I also often lecture at exhibition openings and collectors' meetings.

The Art Quilt
A History of the Art Quilt

This presentation traces the development of the art quilt, exploring its roots in traditional quiltmaking and other textile and visual arts and then looking at the beginnings of the modern "art quilt movement" in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. It includes ground-breaking work by such pioneers as Jean Ray Laury, Charles Counts, Radka Donnell, and Molly Upton, as well as a variety of work by contemporary masters from Michael James, Nancy Crow, Joan Lintault, and Terrie Mangat to Susan Shie, Pauline Burbidge, and Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade.
March Study by Nancy Crow NEO-Buddha by Susan Shie

American Quilts: The Democratic Art

American Quilts: The Democratic Art

Quilts are the quintessential American folk art, known and loved throughout the world. Based on my acclaimed book, American Quilts: The Democratic Art, this history of quilt traditions examines the bed quilt's origins in Europe, its development in nineteenth century America, and its deep social, ethnic, and gender meanings. The comprehensive presentation includes outstanding examples by Amish, African-American, Native American, and Hawaiian quiltmakers as well as a variety of contemporary artists.

Baltimore album quilt Three Sixes by Rosie Lee Tompkins

Gabriel weathervane, c. 1860

American Weathervanes

Weathervanes were an important part of the American skyline from the early 1700s through the early decades of the twentieth century, and many historic vanes are still in place atop churches and public buildings such as Boston's Faneuil Hall, which has been topped by a Shem Drowne grasshopper since 1743. This presentation will survey a wide array of American vanes, both handmade and manufactured, and explore the meanings and sculptural power of some of the finest American weathervanes in existence. I am currently at work on a major book on American vanes.

Archer weathervane, c. 1860Horse and groom, c. 1850

The Warren Dragon, c. 1893

Bird Decoys of North America

Bird Decoys of North America: Nature, History, and Art

Bird decoys have been basic hunter's tools for centuries and are the only American folk art indigenous to this continent. These humble tools are now coveted by collectors for their sculptural beauty and historical associations. This presentation, which is based on my definitive book, explores the history and significance of American decoys, and offers an overview of major carvers and their works.

Shorebirds Mallard drake by Hucks Caines

Amish Abstractions

Amish Abstractions:
The Art of Amish Quilts

In his 1999 book American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America,the noted art critic Robert Hughes boldly asserted that the the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, "created America’s first major abstract art.”

Women in Midwestern Amish communities from Ohio to Nebraska were no less inventive, creating distinctive variations of patterns they borrowed from their "English" neighbors as well as strikingly original designs all their own. How could people who determinedly lived apart from the modern world have created works of such expressive power and artistic vision? The answers lie in the world of the Amish, whose culture and quilts are explored in this enlightening presentation.

Amish center diamond quilt Amish Stairway to Heaven

Hawaiian Quilt Masterpieces by Robert Shaw

Hawaiian Quilts: The Spirit of the Islands

Bringing elements of their Polynesian heritage to the American quilt, nineteenth-century Hawaiians created a distinctive and beautiful craft that is still actively practiced throughout the islands. From the early influences of missionaries and traders, to annexation by the United States and subsequent statehood, to the current concerns of today’s quiltmakers, this presentation offers some of the finest examples of the islands’ fabric art and shows how the designs of these extraordinary Hawaiian creations are grounded in spirituality, the indigenous flora, and the visual expression of history.

Hawaiian flag quilt, c. 1900 Hawaiian quilt, c. 1900

New Mexico britches quilt

Thinking Different: Improvisational Quilts

Throughout the twentieth century, a wide range of Anglo-American, Hispanic, Native American, and African-American quilters worked in improvisational styles that often resulted in strikingly modern visual effects. These quirky, scrappy pieces, created "under the radar" of mainstream quiltmakers and still little known and poorly understood, form a parallel universe of American quilts.

This presentation offers a broad overview of rarely seen work that is marked by fearless color combinations, asymmetrical compositions, and daring juxtapositions of uneven shapes.

African[American Housetop variation Seminole Indian quilt

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