The humble apron gets a fascinating re-evaluation in this traveling exhibit of 51 vintage and contemporary kitchen aprons that are both utilitarian and works of art.
Featuring aprons from as early as 1900, the exhibit chronicles changing attitudes toward women and domestic work and presents aprons as vehicles for self-expression.
Elaborately embroidered aprons of delicate cotton, for example, were worn by well-heeled women of the 1920s. The Depression and war years of the 1930s and 1940s inspired sturdy, calico bib aprons. In the postwar 1950s – the June Cleaver era – commercial and intricately hand-decorated aprons flourished as symbols of family and motherhood.
Apron Strings was curated by Joyce Cheney, an independent curator in St. Louis, and was adapted for travel by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.