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Ken Burns - Our America

Book Release & Talk

1920x1080 New York Harbor 1886 _ credit Library of Congress copy

About the Event

Join us for a conversation with one of our most treasured filmmakers about this new pictorial history of America—a stunning and moving collection of some of Ken Burns’s favorite photographs. Burns has been making documentaries about American history for more than four decades, using images to vividly re-create our struggles and successes as a nation and a people. As much as anyone alive today, he understands the soul of our country.

In Our America, Burns has assembled the images that, for him, best embody nearly two hundred years of the American experiment, taken by some of our most renowned photographers and by others who worked in obscurity. We see America’s vast natural beauty as well as its dynamic cities and communities. There are striking images of war and civil conflict, and of communities drawing together across lines of race and class. Our greatest leaders appear alongside regular folks living their everyday lives. The photos talk to one another across boundaries and decades and, taken together, they capture the impossibly rich and diverse perspectives and places that comprise the American experience.

This book release will pair Ken Burns with Aperture executive director and longtime MoMA photography curator Sarah Hermanson Meister in an approximately 45-minute conversation on the Fotografiska stage, followed by an approximately 15-minute audience Q&A, and a 30-45 minute book signing.

Ken Burns, the producer and director of numerous film series, including The U.S. and the Holocaust, The Vietnam War, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and Country Music, founded his own documentary film company, Florentine Films, in 1976. His landmark film The Civil War was the highest-rated series in the history of American public television, and his work has won numerous prizes, including the Emmy and Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award nominations. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.

Sarah Meister is executive director of Aperture, following more than twenty-five years at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. At MoMA, Sarah curated numerous exhibitions including Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946–1964 (2021); Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures (2020) and Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction (cocurator, 2017). Recent publications consider Luigi Ghirri (2020), Gordon Parks (2020) Frances Benjamin Johnston (2019), and the 1967 MoMA exhibition New Documents (2017). She was the inaugural instructor for the acclaimed online course Seeing Through Photographs, and co-director of the August Sander Project, five-year research initiative at MoMA/Columbia University.

Ticket cost includes museum entry. Come early to enjoy David LaChapelle’s make BELIEVE.