Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

What's on View at the Bellevue Arts Museum

Head east from Seattle across Lake Washington, and you’ll find yourself at the Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM), a gorgeous, light-filled center devoted to art, craft, and design. Although the museum was once housed in a schoolhouse and then a funeral home, today BAM ignites the landscape with its red, asymmetric aluminum and glass building, designed by Steven Holl.

It’s a fitting home for a rotating calendar of challenging, thought-provoking exhibitions. This summer, two different shows are on view: Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley and Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection.

Multi-Directional Strip Quilt. Kentucky, 1940s. Cotton, corduroy. 85 x 64 in. Collection of Corrine Riley. Photo by Anthony Scoggins

In Bold Expressions, which runs through October 7, visitors will find more than 50 quilts made between 1910 and the 1970s by Southern African-American women. Characterized by bright colors and largely abstract patterns, these quilts were made using whatever materials were available, including worn-out clothing, flour sacks, and sometimes even newspaper for batting. Although the identities of these quilters are unknown except for one, their artistry represents how one community was able to co-opt and re-make the American quilting tradition.

Gather Up the Fragments exhibits objects from an entirely different American community: the Shakers. Featuring over 200 pieces from the collection of Faith and Edward Deming Andrews---who have amassed one of the country’s largest collections of Shaker objects---the exhibit shows how the religious group turned functional, everyday items into useable works of art. This exhibit is on view through October 28.

Oval Boxes. Mount Lebanon, NY and Canterbury, NH, ca. 1840. Andrews Collection, Hancock Shaker Village. Photo by Michael Fredericks

Wooden Pail. Mount Lebanon, NY, 19th century. Andrews Collection, Hancock Shaker Village. Photo by Michael Fredericks

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