Current Exhibitions

Materials, Sounds + Black Mountain College

June 7, 2019 – August 31, 2019 {120 College Street}

Curated by Caleb Kelly | Originally exhibited at MAMA Albury (Australia)

Materials, Sounds + Black Mountain College brings together contemporary artists who each create an experience that is focused on the making of sound through materials. The artists in this exhibition challenge the stability of materials in their practice. Handmade instruments and electronics, recycled electronic components, outmoded technologies, fake technologies, imagined sounds and silences will form a series of dynamic installations that challenge the way we think about materiality in a cumulative sound experience. The work by the Australian artists has a lineage in the experimental practices developed by artists and students at Black Mountain College. Newly commissioned works will be exhibited alongside archival ephemera and works from the BMCM+AC permanent collection that demonstrate experimental and materials-based processes. Originally exhibited at MAMA Albury (Australia), Materials, Sounds, and Black Mountain College will further demonstrate the international influence of the College and draw out connections with contemporary experimental and process based arts practices. Supported by Australian Arts Council.


June 7, 2019 – August 31, 2019 {120 College Street}

A Celebration of the Bauhaus Centennial

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the BAUHAUS, we look at the impact of this legendary and influential school of art and design. The Bauhaus closed the same year that Black Mountain College opened (1933) and had an enormous influence on the structure and ethos of BMC. This intimate exhibition will feature materials and artworks from the Bauhaus and BMC, drawing connections through education, design, and philosophy. The Bauhaus Centennial is a global celebration, commemorating this remarkable history through exhibitions and lectures as well as exploring what the Bauhaus means in contemporary society.

Upcoming Exhibitions

VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek

September 20, 2019 – January 4, 2020 {120 College Street}

Curated by Sara VanDerBeek

VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek will be a multidisciplinary exhibition focused on pioneering film and video artist and Black Mountain College alumnus Stan VanDerBeek. The show will include a selection of Stan VanDerBeek’s restored films, featuring layers of dance, color, and sound – often through collaborations with other artists. Contemporary artist, Sara VanDerBeek, will curate and create new work for the exhibition connected to the BMC legacy. VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek is supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant.

Past Exhibitions

Aaron Siskind: A Painter’s Photographer and Works on Paper by BMC Artists

February 1 – May 18, 2019 {120 College Street}

Curated by James Barron

This exhibition of vintage photographs by Aaron Siskind reveals his elegant approach to abstraction through photography. Siskind taught photography at BMC during the summer of 1951 (along with Harry Callahan, Arthur Siegel, and Hazel Larsen Archer). As the only photographer accepted as an equal by the abstract expressionist painters, Siskind’s work remains as powerful today as it was in the 1950s. The exhibition also includes selected works on paper by BMC artists John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Ray Johnson, and Jack Tworkov from private collections

Politics at Black Mountain College

February 1 – May 18, 2019 {120 College Street}

Curated by the team of Connie Bostic, Jon Elliston, Jay Miller, and Alice Sebrell

The BMC community faced political differences, both internally and externally, throughout its 24-year history. The college was born in 1933 during the Great Depression, lived through WWII, was deeply affected by Hitler’s rise to power, and closed during the Cold War. Though often viewed today as an idyllic mountain refuge, isolated from tumultuous global politics, BMC took shape in the context of (and in response to) world events. Through a rich variety of media—artworks, images, texts, and audio—this exhibition will explore the various political dimensions of BMC, both internal and external, that shaped the trajectory of the college and its community of people.

Between Form and Content: Perspectives on Jacob Lawrence and Black Mountain College

September 28, 2018 – January 12, 2019 {120 College Street}

Curated by Julie Levin Caro and Jeff Arnal

One of the most widely regarded American artists of the 20th century, Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) is known for his paintings, drawings, and prints that hover between abstraction and socially inspired narrative realism, chronicling African-American history and experience during his lifetime. Between Form and Content is the very first exhibition to focus on Lawrence’s experiences during the summer of 1946, when Josef Albers invited Lawrence to teach painting at Black Mountain College. In addition to Lawrence’s paintings, the exhibition features artworks by Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, Josef and Anni Albers, Leo Amino, Jean Varda, Ruth Asawa, Ray Johnson, and Beaumont and Nancy Newhall. It also examines Lawrence’s paintings, pedagogy, and legacy in a contemporary context, through the lens of four multimedia artists: Animator/filmmaker Martha Colburn, composer/performer, Tyondai Braxton, installation artist Grace Villamil and writer and interdisciplinary artist, Jace Clayton (DJ Rupture).

Shared History

June 1, 2018 – August 4, 2018 {56 Broadway} 

Curated by Erin Dickey

As the last exhibition to be held in BMCM+AC’s 56 Broadway gallery before its move to 120 College St., Shared History highlights not just the museum’s origins, programs, exhibitions, partnerships, {Re}HAPPENINGs, conferences, and notable collection pieces, but the many ways that this organization has created a space for connection and creativity, fulfilling its original promise to BMC alumni to be not merely a museum memorializing the past, but a center geared towards building community in the present and fostering forward-thinking creativity.

Gerald van de Wiele: VARIATIONS – Seven Decades of Painting (1951-2017)

January 19, 2018 – May 19, 2018 {56 Broadway} 

Curated by Jason Andrew

This historic retrospective captures seven decades of art by Gerald van de Wiele; an exhibition that highlights the artist’s distinctive calibration of color and line while tapping the pulse-rhythm of the natural world.

Active Archive: Martha McDonald | Process + Performance

September 21 – December 30, 2017

Curated by Martha McDonald

ACTIVE ARCHIVE is a stream of programs that pairs the museum’s extensive collection with contemporary artists, curators, and cultural thinkers. It launches with an exhibition featuring the museum’s permanent collection curated by Philadelphia-based interdisciplinary artist Martha McDonald.

Robert Motherwell: The Quiet + The Wild

June 2 – September 2, 2017 {56 Broadway}
Curated by Jerald Melberg and Alice Sebrell
As a teacher at Black Mountain College in 1945 and 1951, Robert Motherwell provided a strong link to the emerging Abstract Expressionist movement in New York City. This exhibition features a selection of his work from 1965 to 1990.

Frank Hursh: Marking Space + Place

June 2 – September 2, 2017 {69 Broadway}}
Curated by Brian Butler
Frank Hursh attended Black Mountain College from 1949 until 1950 and has been a working artist and educator in Mexico since 1956. Painting, drawing, and art education have been constants in Hursh’s life, and this exhibition of his visual works shows off his mastery of color and mark making, hallmarks of painters in the BMC tradition.

Begin To See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College

January 20 – May 20, 2017 {69 Broadway}
Curated by Julie J. Thomson
Begin to See featured 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, Robert Rauschenberg, Aaron Siskind, Cy Twombly, Stan VanDerBeek, Susan Weil, 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.

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.

Basil King: Between Painting and Writing

September 2, 2016 – December 24, 2016

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.

M.C. Richards, Centering: Life + Art, 100 Years

June 3 – August 20, 2016  

Curated by Alice Sebrell

Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards (1916 – 1999) was born in Weiser, Idaho and grew up in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from Reed College and received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1945 she joined the faculty at Black Mountain College (BMC) where she taught writing, translated plays, danced, studied pottery and founded The Black Mountain Review. She was one of BMC’s most popular faculty members in the late 1940s and later wrote: “I have no criticism of Black Mountain, it was an entirely transforming, maturing and inspiring experience.”

Ray Spillenger: Rediscovery of a Black Mountain Painter

January 22 – May 21, 2016

Curated by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr.

Ray Spillenger studied with Willem de Kooning and Josef Albers at Black Mountain College during the summer of 1948. This exhibition comprises two decades of his work from the BMC era to the late 1960s. Spillenger’s paintings demonstrate a total commitment to abstraction and a passionate love of color.

SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY: Ray Johnson, Dick Higgins and the making of THE PAPER SNAKE

June 5 – August 22, 2015

Curated by Michael Von Uchtrup

Lost for decades, the production materials from this innovative compendium of Ray Johnson’s mail art were only recently rediscovered, in time for the book’s re-publication and the 50th anniversary of its original 1965 release. Lively, quirky, often comic, the texts and drawings that meander among the book’s pages provide an intimate look at the early work of Ray Johnson (1927-1995) through the eyes of Johnson’s friend Dick Higgins (1938-1998)

poemumbles: 30 years of Susan Weil’s poem/images

January 30 – May 23, 2015

Curated by Brian E. Butler + Rachael Inch

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center celebrates our ReOPENING with special exhibition of work by Susan Weil. Susan Weil is a painter, printmaker and book artist living in New York City. She studied at Académie Julian in Paris before enrolling at Black Mountain College in 1948 and then later at the Art Students League in New York. Weil is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Dan Rice at Black Mountain College: Painter Among the Poets

September 5 – December 27, 2014

Curated by Brian E. Butler

This exhibition showcases the work of the lyrical abstract expressionist painter Dan Rice, a key figure in the ‘40s and ‘50s at Black Mountain College and in the art world centered on New York’s legendary Cedar Tavern. His friends included fellow artists de Kooning, Kline, Rothko, Pollock, Rauschenberg, and many others, along with poets such as Robert Creeley and Charles Olson.

INTERLUDE: A Look at the Collection and Jacqueline Gourevitch: Site Reconstruction

May 29 – August 23, 2014

Our summer exhibition has two components: INTERLUDE showcasing recent or rarely seen additions to our growing collection of artwork and other material related to Black Mountain College and Site Reconstruction, a separate, focused exhibition of paintings of the World Trade Center reconstruction site by New York-based artist and BMC alumna Jacqueline Gourevitch.

Cynthia Homire: Vision Quest

January 24 – May 17, 2014

Curated by Connie Bostic

This exhibition examines the work of poet, potter and visual artist Cynthia Homire, a Black Mountain College alumna, now in her early 80s. Homire was a student at Black Mountain College from 1950-1954, where she studied with Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and M. C. Richards, among many others. The artist will be present at the opening.

Black Mountain College: Shaping Craft + Design

Sept. 6, 2013 – January 4, 2014

Curated by Katie Lee

This exhibition is designed to inspire new ways of thinking about the role and impact of Black Mountain College on developing craft and design movements in America and internationally. It includes ceramics, textiles, furniture, sculpture, paintings, printed material and ephemera created by students and faculty during and after Black Mountain College.

Harry Seidler: Architecture, Art and Collaborative Design

June 14 – August 21, 2013

Curated by Vladimir Belogolovsky

his retrospective exhibition illuminates Seidler’s legacy as Australia’s most important modernist architect. Harry Seidler studied with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College in the mid-1940s and became a major proponent of Bauhaus principles of design in his architectural practice.

John Urbain: No Ideas but in Things

January 18 – June 1, 2013

Curated by Yvette Torres

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center is proud to announce John Urbain: No Ideas but in Things, an exhibition of collages and paintings by Black Mountain College alumnus John Urbain, opening January 18, 2013. The project includes a retrospective exhibition of Urbain’s paintings and collages (including selected work from BMC), a publication, and a rich array of public programming, all designed to honor and recognize Urbain, sharing his work with a diverse audience in the WNC region and beyond.

Looking Forward at Buckminster Fuller’s Legacy

September 21 – December 29, 2012

Curated by Elizabeth Thompson

The exhibition will address the legacy of Buckminster Fuller as a legendary inventor of the 20th century and a visionary role model for a new generation of artists, thinkers and problem-solvers in the 21st century. The show will represent Fuller’s own ideas and inventions through a selection from Invention: Twelve Around One, a portfolio of screenprints published by the Carl Solway Gallery, which include images and schematics of Fuller’s inventions.

David Weinrib: Bridging

June 8 – September 8, 2012

Exhibition features a gallery talk by Artist David Weinrib will speak about his work and the current exhibition during the opening reception, as well as a moderated discussion on THE ART OF CREATION: A public discussion on the creative process with MOTION Dance+Theatre, and a poetry performance followed by a commemoration of John Cage’s centennial, percussionists Jason DeCristofaro, Laura Franklin and Matthew Richmond will play Cage’s Third Construction composed in 1941.

Pat Passlof: Selections 1948 – 2011

January 27 – May 27, 2012

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition, Pat Passlof: Selections A companion show will open at the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University the night before. This collaboration between the two museums will enable us to show a significant number of works by Passlof, from her early work made while a student of Willem de Kooning at BMC to her final paintings made in 2011.1948-2011 focusing on the work of painter Pat Passlof, an accomplished Black Mountain College alumna, member of the New York School and under-recognized figure in the development of Abstract Expressionism.

John Cage: A Circle of Influences

September 30, 2011 – January 14, 2012

This exhibition explores multiple aspects of Cage’s work from his important time at Black Mountain College to his later collaborative projects including the Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia and Crown Point Press and includes some of the unusual materials he used in his work like stones, feathers and a very large custom-made brush along with the oversized trough that held paint.
John Cage (1912-1992) was a man of many interests: music, mushrooms, Zen Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy, visual art and dance. He pioneered the practice of “preparing” the piano by inserting objects into the strings, thereby altering the sound of the instrument in radical ways.