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Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection

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 textile compositions. Burns is less concerned with the provenance and genealogy of his quilts than with their gestalt—both the visual impact they have on the viewer, and their implicit connections to life stories. Displayed alongside eloquent, anecdotal thoughts about quilts, collecting, and art and authenticity, Burns’ quilts function as his films do; they spark dialogue and remind people—he hopes—of their shared humanity.