Ronald R. Janssen Library + Study Center Opens at BMCM+AC

Program Director Alice Sebrell with Ron Janssen in the new Library + Study Center. Photo by Ken Fitch.

We are thrilled to announce the opening of the Ronald R. Janssen Library + Study Center in the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) gallery at 69 Broadway St. in downtown Asheville, NC. Ron Janssen is Professor Emeritus at Hofstra University in New York, where he taught English for more than thirty years and served as the founding chair of the Department of Writing Studies.

As a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky in the 1970s, Janssen was introduced to the Black Mountain College legacy through visitors who had actually attended the school, including Jonathan Williams and Buckminster Fuller. His interest piqued, Janssen began collecting books, journals, and other materials celebrating Black Mountain College’s avant-garde writers and artists. He recognized the profound impact that Black Mountain College had within the arts and culture in the U.S. and across the globe. The ideas of Black Mountain College’s exploratory artists bolstered Janssen’s approach to teaching both at Hofstra and abroad during teaching assignments in China, most notably as Fulbright Scholar for two years at Beijing University. His interest in Black Mountain writers also led to his editing of a special Denise Levertov issue of the journal Twentieth-Century Literature.  Read More



BMCM+AC Announces Jeff Arnal as Executive Director

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center has announced that Jeff Arnal was appointed executive director. Arnal will be responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership and further developing the institution’s programming and resources. He will start in the position on August 1.
“Having worked in the arts and nonprofit sector for the past two decades, first as a composer and percussionist, and later as a curator, writer, administrator, and producer, Jeff is uniquely suited to lead BMCM+AC,” co-chair Brian Butler said. “We look forward to working with him to sustain the college’s tradition of exploring historic paths and forging new ones.” Arnal co-founded Free Range Asheville, a platform for performance, research, and discourse in 2015.
Read More…

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Inaugurates New Gallery Space with Exhibition of Work by Randy Shull

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC), in Asheville, NC, presents an inaugural exhibition celebrating the completion of a three-year, two-phase renovation and expansion project led by artist and designer Randy Shull and J. Richard Gruber, PhD, director of the newly launched Architecture + Design Institute (A+D@BMCM+AC).

Organized by Gruber, Randy Shull/Wide Open: Architecture and Design at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center examines the enduring legacy of Black Mountain College (BMC, 1933‒57) through the lens of its architecture and design program and the influential innovators who taught there while contextualizing Shull’s design and construction process directly inspired by them. The exhibition is on view July 1‒September 3, 2016, and is accompanied by a publication.

Read More…


An Inevitability: Ray Spillenger, Abstract Expressionism + a snowy weekend opening

BlackMountainCollegeRaySpillengerDavidHuffMother Nature may have been in on a conspiracy to keep Ray Spillenger’s paintings unseen, with a foot of snow dropping for their first unveiling since 1960. The paintings harken back to Black Mountain College’s famous Summer of 1948, and breathe fresh life into the abstract expressionist movement now embedded in the canon of art history. Ray Spillenger: Rediscovery of a Black Mountain Painter celebrates the work of an artist in league with Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning. The difference? Ray just never got around to finding critical acclaim before Andy Warhol redefined the “avant-garde,” and abstract expressionism stepped aside for Pop Art to claim the cultural zeitgeist. But now, unearthed from his 10th Street apartment, cleaned and framed on the wall of our gallery at 56 Broadway, Ray Spillenger’s paintings are finally shining. And an impressive group of hearty souls even braved the storm to welcome them! 

read more…

Presentation and Book Launch

Thursday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.
It’s been over sixty-five years since Jerrold Levy and Richard Negro composed, circulated, and performed Poems by Gerard Legro on the campus of Black Mountain College. Long forgotten in an archival box, the previously unpublished collaboration is now in print for the first time. Dr. Alessandro Porco will discuss the history of Poems by Gerard Legro and read a short selection from the book. Free Admission



Bidding Convergence/Divergence Farewell + Welcoming Ray Spillenger

BlackMountainCollegeMuseumConvergenceExhibtionClosing1_2015In the aptly named “Form and Function” section of Modern Magazine‘s Winter 2016 issue, Margot Ammidown remarked that “of all the institutions with a Bauhaus legacy, Black Mountain retains the image of a creative arcadia that produced many of the great artists of the mid-twentieth century.”

Ammidown, reviewing our recently closed CONVERGENCE/DIVERGENCE: Exploring Black Mountain College + Chicago’s New Bauhaus/Institute of Design, which was on view from September 4, 2015 – December 31, 2015, highlights moments of cross-pollination between the two schools but also discusses each school’s unique legacy – namely the reinstitution of the New Bauhaus as the Institute of Design, and Black Mountain College’s unique emphasis on experimentation rather than industry. 

We are sorry to see the objects, works, ephemera, and images of CONVERGENCE/DIVERGENCE go, but in a few weeks we will be thrilled to open the doors for our next exhibition: Ray Spillenger: Rediscovery of a Black Mountain College Painter, opening January 22, 2016 on view through May 21, 2016. 

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.  read more…

Travel Scholarship Supports Asheville Artist’s Trip to Russia

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) announces that Design Apprentice and Museum Intern Carley Brandau will travel to Moscow, Russia this summer to take part in the exhibition Costume at the Turn of the Century 1990-2015 at the A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum as part of BMCM+AC’s new Research Travel Grant program. Brandau’s BMCM+AC-administered travel scholarship is generously funded by a donation from Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer.

Brandau, a local artist and UNC Asheville graduate, began at BMCM+AC in October 2014 as a Design Apprentice, working under internationally-known, Asheville-based designer and artist Randy Shull on the redesign and renovation of the museum’s 56 Broadway gallery space. In February, 2015, Brandau was selected as a member of the inaugural class of Windgate Museum Interns at BMCM+AC. The Internship program, Apprenticeship program, and gallery redesign and renovation are part of the museum’s three-year Windgate Charitable Foundation-funded expansion plan. Brandau continues to document BMCM+AC’s expansion through the curation of dedicated Tumblr and Instagram accounts.  read more…