The quilts of Paula Nadelstern make for a dazzling exhibit of exceptional craftsmanship at the American Folk Art Museum. You are greeted with a huge creation on the lobby level that boggles the mind. Upstairs, more vibrant quilts using different techniques are on display. The labor intensive art is even more impressive when you learn that Nadelstern, a Bronx native makes all her quilts in a small apartment as she says on her own site:
“Historians have suggested that the block-style method of quilt-making evolved in response to the cramped quarters of early American life. My family's living arrangement in an urban environment created similar considerations which, unwittingly, I resolved in much the same way. For over twenty years, my work space in our two bedroom apartment was the forty-inch round kitchen table”.
The most interesting look into the artist's craft is the segment along the hallway that shows the reverse side of the quilting, the literal toil to make such geometrically perfect images on the front. Be sure to peek into the kaleidoscopes by various artists too.
Upstairs is a much smaller, but equally fascinating, collection of hand carved wood sculptures by Southern barber Ulysses Davis. He not only captured historical and religious figures but created mythical creatures some of which would make Father Lankester Merrin tremble if he dug them up in Iraq.
Davis, who (like many folk and outsider artists) rarely sold his work,?never looked to his craft for financial gain. As he once said “They're my treasure. If I sold these, I'd be really poor.”