University of Nebraska Medical Center

Art Gallery

Located on level one of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, the Art Gallery features two exhibitions each year, showcasing exhibitions of national and local artists. The gallery enriches, inspires and enlivens UNMC/Nebraska Medicine patients, visitors, employees and community. The intention is to exhibit work that is of the highest artistic quality and reflects a rich diversity of media, creators, cultures and perspectives. Exhibitions support the healing environment of the hospital by providing guests with inspiring images, enhancing the compassionate care that UNMC/Nebraska Medicine provides. Each exhibition has a “Meet the Artist” event and reception for patients, staff and the community. Artist talks provide the opportunity to gain insight about the art and foster personal introspection on the artistic process and its impact on health and wellness.

Current Exhibition

Amish Quilts: Objects of Modern Art

Quilt from Amish Quilts exhibit

An Exhibition from the International Quilt Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The art world first took note of the remarkable similarities between quilts and modern art in 1971 when the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York exhibited quilts on walls normally reserved for the works of contemporary artists. 

Amish quilts in particular seem modern in spirit in part because of their extraordinary scale and geometry, and also because their large, single color areas evoke comparisons with the “color field” paintings of such Abstract Expressionist artists as Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Jules Olitski and others. Just as those artists produced series of paintings similar in overall format but varying in scale and color, classic Lancaster Amish quilts can be seen as color and proportion experiments within a limited range of patterns.  What individual modern artists chose to do in their paintings as an intellectual exercise, showing how pure color forms could produce intensely beautiful and moving works, so Amish quilt makers, constrained by their cultural bias against artistic experimentation, did in their quilts.

The International Quilt Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln holds the most significant and comprehensive collection of Amish quilts in the world. They include classic Pennsylvania Amish quilts from the Jonathan Holstein and Gail Van Der Hoof Collection and Midwestern quilts from the Ardis and Robert James Collection.

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The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Healing Arts Program would like to thank the International Quilt Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the loan of these artworks.