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Michael A. Cummings Artist and Quilter: About

This guide celebrates the art of American Artist and Quilter, Michael A. Cummings.

Guide to Artist and Quilter Michael A. Cummings

This guide will assist users and scholars in locating information and artwork by Quilt maker and artist Michael A. Cummings. This electronic pathfinder will include information on primary resources, books,and visual materials.

Artist Biography

 Michael A. Cummings was born in Los Angeles, California on November 28, 1945. In 1970, he moved to New York City where he was employed by the Department of Cultural Affairs as a Technical Director. At the   same time he was developing as a painter he was introduced to the work of artist, Romare Bearden, the nation's foremost collogist. Mentored by Bearden, Michael started to experiment with and incorporate   collage into his own work.  Cummings grew his skills to include quilting and fabric collage. This   transformation in medium was triggered in 1973  he was required to construct a fabric banner for a work   related event. So taken by this new method of creative output, he purchased a sewing machine, taught   himself how to sew, and read books on quilting. An art form dominated by female artists, Cummings   defies traditional gender binary by creating works of art in a medium less often pursued by male artists.

Cummings has let his intuition guide his work as he constructs his quilts. He has said that he could use as many as 30 different fabrics in one quilt, changing colors, fabric texture, and patterns as each quilt is built from rough sketches to three dimensional works of art. Cummings even taught himself how to dye various fabrics to achieve the correct color composition for each project. Cumming's quilts function as bedding, or decoratively, as wall hangings.

Cumming's quilts can be identified by his fearless use of color and patterns. Some quilts are thematic, and make up parts of series. He has created many historical, biographical and portrait quits celebrating select, notable Black people such as Josephine Baker, Barack Obama, James Baldwin, and the celebration of Black resilience, such as the Underground Railroad.

Cumming's quilts can be found in private collections belonging to Hollywood greats such as Whoopi Goldberg, and in museums around the globe such as the Brooklyn Museum and Museum of Art and Design. He has also created quilts for Absolut Vodka and HBO.

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Bridgett Pride- Reference Librarian
Tammi Lawson- Curator of Art and Artifacts



515 Malcolm X Boulevard (135th street)

Second Floor (landmark building)

New York, NY 10037



African American and African Diaspora Studies

Artist Quilt Series

  • African Jazz series- 12 quilts
  • Egungun series- 4 quilts
  • Butterfly series- 7 quilts
  • Haitian Mermaid series- 4 quilts