September 6—October 28, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 20 5:30-7:00 p.m., List Gallery, Lang Performing Arts Center
Mary Lee Bendolph’s extraordinary quilts have been compared to the literature of Toni Morrison, jazz classics, and masterworks of modern art. Recognized with a 2015 National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, she has been profiled in numerous essays including the 1999 Los Angeles Times Pulitzer Prize-winning article “Crossing Over”. In 2017, she and her daughter, Essie Bendolph Pettway, were the focus of Maris Curran’s documentary film, While I yet Live, Together with other quilters in the historically black community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, she has been honored through touring museum exhibitions and her quilts have been collected by distinguished institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Piece Together: The Quilts of Mary Lee Bendolph,was organized by the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, Massachusetts and was made possible by The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation and the gifts of individual donors in support of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum’s Diverse Voices lnitiative. The exhibition was adapted for two venues at Swarthmore College by List Gallery Director Andrea Packard. The List Gallery will feature a selection of quilts made between the late 1970s and 2010 and several prints made in 2005. McCabe Library’s upper atrium will feature several quilts by Mary Lee Bendolph alongside works by her mother, Aolar Mosely, and her daughter, Essie Bendolph Pettway—three generations of women who responded to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow with remarkable faith, resilience, and creativity.
Funding for the exhibition at Swarthmore College and the accompanying public events and catalog were made possible by the William J. Cooper Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Department of Art and Art History and Swarthmore College Libraries.