Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning

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.

Contact us at to receive information about additional available quilts.


Art + Practice Los Angeles


October 12, 2019 - January 25, 2020


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