Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection

Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection

Two Ken Burns Quilts Displayed

As a collector, I'm looking for something that reflects my country back at me. Quilts rearrange my molecules when I look at them. There's an enormous satisfaction in having them close by. I'm not a materialist. There are too many things in the world, and we know that the best things in life aren't things. Yet there are a few things that remind me of the bigger picture.

We live in a rational world. One and one always equals two. That's okay, but we actually want—in our faith, in our families, in our friendships, in our love, in our art—for one and one to equal three.

And quilts do that for me.

—Ken Burns

Prolific film-maker and documentarian Ken Burns loves antique American quilts.

To him, each of these textiles represents a moment in time and American history—a nexus of individuals and geography and culture that can never be fully recovered, but which is nevertheless represented in these strikingly graphic compositions. Burns is less concerned with the provenance and genealogy of his quilts than with their gestalt—both their visual impact on the viewer, and their implicit connections to life stories.

Displayed alongside eloquent, anecdotal thoughts about quilts, collecting, art and authenticity, Burns’ quilts function as his films do: they spark dialogue and remind us—he hopes—of our shared humanity.

"Putting the quilts up permits other people to have their own associations. Like free electrons, they'll bounce off each other, and something will happen. I'm interested in the kinship that happens from the way television shows and quilts bring people together.”

Works in the Exhibition

Works in the Exhibition
Works in the Exhibition

Featured Media

Featured Media
Featured Media
Event Date
Friday, January 19, 2018 to Sunday, May 13, 2018