• photograph of Rosie Lee Tompkins 1996 quilt

Curator's Circle: Rosie Lee Tompkins Wine & Walkthrough

Open to Curator’s Circle members at the $1,000 level and above 

Please join us for a reception and preview tour of this vivid and important exhibition, Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective (February 19–July 19, 2020). Organized by Director and Chief Curator Lawrence Rinder and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow Elaine Yau, this is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work to date, featuring approximately seventy quilts, pieced tops, embroideries, assemblages, and decorated objects. It reveals Tompkins to be an artist of extraordinary variety, depth, and impact.

Tompkins (1936–2006) is widely considered one of the most brilliant and inventive quiltmakers of the last fifty years. Her reputation has grown to the point where her work is no longer considered solely within the context of quilting, but celebrated among the great American artistic achievements of our time. 

Made up almost entirely of works from BAMPFA’s collection, this exhibition is the first in a series of exhibitions celebrating the donation of approximately 3,000 quilts by African American artists from the estate of the collector Eli Leon. This transformative bequest makes BAMPFA a leader in the field of African American art with what is probably the largest public collection of African American quilts in the world.

Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective is organized by Director and Chief Curator Lawrence Rinder and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow Elaine Y. Yau. The exhibition is made possible with major support from Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman and the Estate of Eli Leon. Additional support is provided by Frances Bowes, Anthony and Celeste Meier, Margarita Gandia and Diana Campoamor, Topher Delaney, Faith and Stephen Brown, Joyce and Mark Hulbert, and Myra G. Block.

Image: Rosie Lee Tompkins: Three Sixes, 1996; quilted by Irene Bankhead, 1996; polyester double knit, linen-weave cotton or polyester, cotton, rayon, and cotton muslin backing; 96 x 96 in.; BAMPFA, Bequest of the Eli Leon Living Trust. Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Effie Mae Howard. Photo: Ben Blackwell.