Dorsky Museum opens exhibition of 19th-century woven coverlets from Historic Huguenot Street collection

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (Dorsky Museum) in partnership with Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) will hold an opening reception for Binary Visions: Early 19th-Century Woven Coverlets from the Collection of Historic Huguenot Street on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. The event begins with a gallery talk by the exhibition curators from 4 – 5 p.m. followed by a reception from 5 – 8 p.m.

The exhibition, which has been jointly organized by the Dorsky Museum and HHS, will be open from Oct. 16 – Dec. 12, 2010 and again from Jan. 26 – Mar. 18, 2011. The evening reception is a featured event of the monthly Art Along the Hudson/New Paltz Third Saturdays series of events taking place in New Paltz on Oct. 16, 2010.

Curated by Brian Wallace (Dorsky Museum) and Leslie LeFevre-Stratton (HHS), in consultation with S. Rabbit Goody (textile historian and weaver), this exhibition showcases a group of loom woven bed coverings, examining design elements characteristic of these textiles and tracing the development of local coverlet weaving in the mid-Hudson Valley.

The coverlets in this exhibition embody technical and manufacturing advances that were first made in the mid-Hudson Valley starting in the 18th-century that enabled local weavers—primarily men trained in the carpet weaving industry—to create bed covers of particularly rich and striking designs for their clientele, primarily in rural communities throughout the area.
Binary Visions will focus on a select group of coverlets chosen for their strong graphic appeal, pattern play, and optical complexity. Many of these coverlets from the HHS collection have local family provenance—originating in Ulster, Orange and Dutchess counties. United for the first time in one exhibition, the coverlets will be displayed in groups that emphasize, compare, and contrast formal design elements and embody several important weaving techniques.

As part of its public education programming, presented in conjunction with the exhibition, the Dorsky Museum will offer free Sunday gallery tours by guest educator Kevin Cook on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. when the museum is open (Oct. 17, 31; Nov.7, 14, 21; Dec. 5, 12; and on six Sundays in 2011 (Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27; Mar. 6, 13). The Dorsky Museum and HHS will present a panel discussion featuring interdisciplinary perspectives on the technology and optics of coverlets on a date to be announced in Spring 2011. Visit the museum’s website for specific information about these and other programs. Once the show opens, extensive documentation about the exhibition will be available in a new section on the Historic Huguenot Street website.

Major support for this exhibition and its related programs has been provided by The Coby Foundation, Marianne Murray and Richard Rowley, with additional support from the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. Funding for Dorsky Museum exhibitions and programs is provided by the Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and the State University of New York at New Paltz.

For more information, call 845-257-3844 or visit the museum’s website at