Black Mountain College: Experiment in Art

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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. Faculty members included
Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Ilya Bolotowsky, John Cage, Harry Callahan, Merce
Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Walter Gropius, Clement Greenberg, Lou Harrison,
Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Motherwell, Roger Sessions,
Ben Shahn, Aaron Siskind, Esteban Vicente, and Stefan Wolpe. Among their students were Ruth Asawa, John Chamberlain, Ray Johnson, Kenneth Noland, Robert Rauschenberg,
Dorothea Rockburne, Cy Twombly, and Susan Weil. Literature teachers included Robert
Creeley, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and M.C. Richards, with students Fielding
Dawson, Ed Dorn, Francine du Plessix Gray, Joel Oppenheimer, Arthur Penn, John
Wieners, and Jonathan Williams. This book -- the paperback edition of a milestone work that has been unavailable for several years -- documents the short but influential life of Black Mountain College.

Nearly 500 images,
many in color and published for the first time in this book, show important works of art created by Black Mountain College faculty and students as well as snapshots of campus life. Four essays, all commissioned for the book, offer closer looks at the world of Black Mountain. Poet Robert Creeley recounts his first meeting with his mentor and friend Charles Olson. Composer Martin Brody offers 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 experimental literary journal The
Black Mountain Review
, which was instrumental in launching the Black
Mountain school of poetry. The book's editor, 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.Experiment in Art

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Vincent Katz, a poet and critic who curated an exhibition in Spain on Black Mountain, methodically examines the personnel and draws connections among them: a shared interest in such ''primitive'' cultures as the Mayans; a tendency to break down distinctions between high and low, art and craft; and a dazzling willingness (as recorded in many unfamiliar art works reproduced here) to just do it. — Christopher Benfey
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. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262518451
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,052,273
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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

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Table of Contents

Preface 11
Black Mountain College: Experiment in Art 13
The Scheme of the Whole: Black Mountain College and the Course of American Modern Music 237
In, around, and about The Black Mountain Review: Robert Creeley and Company 269
Olson and Black Mountain College 297
3 Black Mountain poems 305
Selected bibliography 317
Index 319
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