Black Mountain College: Experiment in Art

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9780262112796: Black Mountain College: Experiment in Art

Although it lasted only twenty-three years (1933-1956) and enrolled fewer than 1,200 students, Black Mountain College was one of the most fabled experimental institutions in art education and practice. Its art teachers included Josef Albers, Ilya Bolotowsky, Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Franz Kline, and Robert Motherwell, and among their students were John Chamberlain, Kenneth Noland, Robert Rauschenberg, Dorothea Rockburne, and Cy Twombly. The performing arts teachers included John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Lou Harrison, Roger Sessions, David Tudor, and Stefan Wolpe, and among the literature teachers and students were Robert Creeley, Fielding Dawson, Ed Dorn, Robert Duncan, Francine du Plessix Gray, Charles Olson, M. C. Richards, and John Wieners.

This book, which accompanies an exhibition organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, contains nearly 500 color and black and white illustrations, many never before published.

Most of the images directly support the ideas and evidence presented in the book's four essays, all commissioned for this book. Poet Robert Creeley recounts his first meeting with his mentor and friend Charles Olson. Composer Martin Brody gives a history of the musical world of the 1930s to 1950s, in which Black Mountain played a significant role. Critic Kevin Power looks at the history and content of the experimental literary journal The Black Mountain Review, which was instrumental in the launching of the Black Mountain school of poetry. Curator Vincent Katz discusses the philosophy of the college's founders, the Bauhaus principles followed by art instructor Josef Albers, and the many interactions among the arts in the college's later years. The book also contains detailed histories of the careers of sixty-five Black Mountain artists, drawing on new interviews with John Chamberlain, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Fielding Dawson, Joseph Fiore, Richard Lippold, Kenneth Noland, Pat Passlof, Arthur Penn, Dan Rice, Dorothea Rockburne, Gerald van de Wiele, Susan Weil, and John Wieners.

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About the Author:

Vincent Katz is a poet, translator, and curator based in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

Serving between 1933 and 1956 as a meeting point for some of the most imaginative artists, composers and writers of the period, Black Mountain College in southwestern North Carolina continues to exist as the mythical artistic birthplace of everyone from John Cage to Robert Creeley. Poet Vincent Katz curated a Black Mountain exhibition for Madrid's Reina Sofia museum, and here presents the school through a wonderful review of the artworks it produced and the varied geniuses who produced them. Artists Josef Albers, Kenneth Noland, Willem de Kooning and Franz Klein; dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham; poets Charles Olson and John Wieners; composers Lou Harrison and Stefan Wolpe; the unclassifiable Buckminster Fuller-all were integral to the tiny institution (about 50 students at any one time) and its practice-based curricula. Works by lesser known artists like Ilya Bolotowsky Theodoros Stamos acquire a further depth when placed among those by more familiar names, like Robert Motherwell. Candid photos are a highlight: the snapshot of painter Helen Frankenthaler and Ab-Ex critical proponent Clement Greenberg swimming in an onrushing ocean current would seem allegorical, if not for its immediacy. In the space of two covers, Katz manages to evoke a world of cross-media artistic possibility that seems as vast as it was often joyous.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by The MIT Press (2003)
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