Who is American? Skirball exhibition in L.A. answers the question with quilts from more places than you’d think
Skirball, an indie quilt show, was established in 2012. The show is hosted in Los Angeles but has traveled to Chicago, New York, Denver, and Pittsburgh.
At a time when a lot of the art world is being made in New York or Miami, L.A. is a place where art is happening outside the traditional gallery model. There is an art that occurs in its own place or at a specific time.
“L.A. is a very good place for making art and for making art outside galleries that do not have much to do with art at all,” said Skirball founder and director Nancy Wartelle.
She described Skirball as “the idea that you do what you want to do. Your art is not for anyone else but you and the idea of what happens is completely up to you.”
I first became aware of Skirball when a Los Angeles gallery owner told me it was on a street where the art was happening. Skirball has shown at museums, on city streets, among homeless people and in churches. It is a place where ideas, people and things, are allowed to happen.
“A place where you can share your heart and your ideas, where you can share your feelings and your hopes and your fears about art and also about what it means that we are here,” Wartelle said. “It is a non-judgmental way of being an artist where you can show your passion and share something personal and not show it on just the walls of a gallery, but you can show it in a beautiful way.”
I called up Skirball co-founder and art writer, Tim Allen. He said, “Los Angeles has had a long history of creating art itself. And it’s been part of art for almost two centuries. The