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    Kentucky Folk Art Center

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    Kentucky Folk Art Center

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Through August 23, 2014

Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky presents more than two dozen rocking chairs and other objects made by the east Kentucky chair maker before his death in 1981, as well as numerous photographs of the artist and descriptive text panels.  The exhibition is accompanied by a full color catalog and features Appalshop’s classic documentary film Hand Carved.  The exhibition presents Cornett’s amazing chairs and poses the question of why the artist chose to relentlessly pursue his outdated craft in the face of great economic and personal adversity.  This project was made possible through a significant grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chester Cornett lived from 1913 to 1981 and spent his adult life making chairs.  He was, as the folklorist Michael Owen Jones wrote, “King of the chairmakers,” but trying to reconstruct his life, to understand the course it took three decades after his death, requires imagination and much supposition. Cornett was a complex man, a conflicted human being, whose life revolved around expanding the limits of a craft that had been in existence for centuries.

This project is the culmination of several years of intensive research and investigation by the staff of the Kentucky Folk Art Center.  While Chester Cornett made hundreds of chairs during his lifetime, the museum was able to track down and identify only about three dozen. Thankfully, a small number of museums and private individuals had recognized Chester’s mastery as a craftsman and his unique artistic vision and had held on to some of the finest examples of his work.  Through them this exhibition was made real.



CWBridgeBetween the States: Photographs of the American Civil War from George Eastman House

Opens August 28, 2014

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of “Mr. Lincoln’s War,” Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War presents a selection of facsimile photographs of historical Civil War sites and circumstances by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, and Alexander Gardner.














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