Current Exhibitions

Basil King: Between Painting and Writing

September 2 – December 24, 2016 {56 Broadway}

Curated by Brian Butler and Vincent Katz

Better known as a poet and illustrator of other poets’ works, Brooklyn resident Basil King exemplifies the intentional independence and purposeful interdisciplinary qualities that Black Mountain College is famous for. And just like Black Mountain College’s legacy, King’s career defies easy categorization. This is most apparently true in the fact that he works as both a painter and a writer and is prolific in both disciplines. Arriving in the United States from England in 1947, he studied painting at Black Mountain College with Joseph Fiore and Esteban Vicente and poetry with Charles Olson and Robert Creeley.

He then moved to New York and has been an important member of the New York poetry and art scene ever since. Under recognized because of his independence and interdisciplinary work, a 2012 documentary on his life, Basil King: Mirage, by Nicole Peyrafitte and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte has gone some way to remedy this. Between Painting and Writing aims to be an important step in giving King’s career proper attention by exhibiting his poetry, his illustrations and his paintings as a unified body of work. A chapbook of Basil King’s work will be published concurrently with the exhibition. Assistant curator, Joshua A. Gardner.

The Painters of Black Mountain College: Selections from Southern Collections

September 23 – December 31, 2016 {69 Broadway} 

Curated by Connie Bostic & Alice Sebrell

The list of painters associated with Black Mountain College is a who’s who of mid-20th century artists. From influential and groundbreaking Europeans like Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, and Theodoros Stamos to profoundly original Americans including Robert Rauschenberg, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Motherwell, Elaine de Kooning, Kenneth Noland, Dorothea Rockburne, Cy Twombly and Robert De Niro, Sr., the cumulative impact these painters have had on the history and trajectory of art is remarkable. This exhibition consists of work by many of the painters of Black Mountain College, both famous and lesser known, with work drawn from the museum’s collection and borrowed from other collections in the South. 

Upcoming Exhibitions

Begin To See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College

January 20 – May 20, 2017 {69 Broadway}

Curated by Julie J. Thomson

While thousands of photographs were taken at Black Mountain College there has not been a detailed examination of photography at the College. Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College will be the first in-depth exhibition and catalog devoted to this topic. Photography began as a workshop at Black Mountain College in the 1930s.

In the 1940s visiting photographers gave some instruction, and starting in 1944 photography courses were offered during the College’s summer sessions. In fall 1949 photography began to be offered as part of the school’s regular curriculum, with former student Hazel-Frieda Larsen being appointed the first full-time instructor in photography. Photographic education at Black Mountain College often focused on learning to see photographically, taking photographs, and the medium’s history.

Begin to See will feature photographs by a variety of artists including Josef Albers, Hazel Larsen Archer, Josef Breitenbach, Harry Callahan, Trude Guermonprez, Robert Haas, Clemens Kalischer, Barbara Morgan, Beaumont Newhall, Nancy Newhall, Andy Oates, Aaron Siskind, Stan VanDerBeek, and Jonathan Williams.

Zola Marcus: Kinetic Origins

January 13 – May 13, 2017 {56 Broadway}

Curated by Alice Sebrell and Connie Bostic

Zola Marcus (1915 – 1998), long-time resident of New York and abstract painter attended the 1953 Summer Institute at Black Mountain College where he studied painting with Joe Fiore and Esteban Vicente. His early work (pre-Black Mountain) consisted of representational scenes, primarily landscapes. These early paintings displayed a remarkable feeling not just for natural beauty but also for color and, particularly, for formal clarity. It is the strength of formal composition that carried over into his abstract work, which he developed over a number of decades. Early in this development he had a one-man show at the famed Galerie Mai in Paris, and one can see the influence of his teachers, including Fernand Leger and, later, the dean of New York abstraction, Hans Hoffman. Marcus integrated a large number of the central developments of abstract painting into his work over the years, including large-scale calligraphic gestures and the employment of chance-elements, particularly drip-motifs. Many of Marcus’ later canvases display the unusual combination of fine technical precision with the appearance of improvisatory gestural spontaneity, and it is in these canvases that his distinctive aesthetic voice is perhaps most pronounced.