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Yo-Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts

September 12, 2015–February 21, 2016

“Looking at these 20 quilts is like entering a different world—one that is asymmetrical and tactile. We hope the exhibition alters your idea of what a quilt can be.” — Carin Adams, Associate Curator of Art and Material Culture

Highlighting the stunning creations of five quilters from the Oakland-based Eli Leon collection, Yo-Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts presents 20 quilts that defy standard expectations, dating from the late 1980s and early 2000s. Featuring complex asymmetrical patterns, unusual materials and an improvisational creation process, these quilts are unique artworks that expand the notions of craft through exuberant artistic expression. Presenting stories from each maker—Angie Tobias, Arbie Williams, Mattie Pickett, Rosie Lee Tompkins, and Sherry Byrd—the exhibition illuminates how these quilts came to be, and the collaborations and relationships involved in their creation. Although the quilts are highly distinct from each other, the exhibition reflects the makers’ individual interests, skills and talents and Eli Leon’s vision and unique story as a collector, beginning in the early 1970s and with a large focus on African-American quilters.

Yo-Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts is made possible in part by generous support from the Oakland Museum Women’s Board and the Simpson Family.