Art + Practice and The Baltimore Museum of Art present Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning, which brings the Baltimore-based artist’s first museum exhibition to Art + Practice in an expanded presentation featuring two major new works. Trained as a painter and self-taught in quilting, Towns joins a long tradition of African American artists and makers who have invented creative methods for recording history and memory with fabric.
At center of this exhibition, the monumental installation Birth of a Nation (2014) represents a Black woman nursing a white infant against the backdrop of the first official flag of the United States. Suspended above a mound of earth, the quilt will be surrounded by Towns’s Story Quilts (2016–2019), a cycle of works in luminous fabrics and glass beads that chronicle the life of Nat Turner and the 1831 rebellion he led against slavery. A pair of quilted oval portraits of Nat and Cherry Turner (2018) adds a significant dimension to this narrative, considering the role of a marriage in historic events.
This exhibition is presented by Art + Practice in collaboration with The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and is curated by Cecilia Wichmann, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at The BMA.