Women of Black Mountain College Film Screenings
3 documentary films in 1 evening at the Fine Arts Theatre
Thursday, June 11, 7:00 p.m.
M.C. Richards: The Fire Within by Richard Kane + Melody Lewis-Kane
Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth by Robert Snyder
Josef and Anni Albers: Art is Everywhere by Sedat Pakay
Fine Arts Theatre, 36 Biltmore Ave.
$12 / $10 for BMCM+AC members + students w/ID
Total running time: 1 hr. 46 min. There will be two short intermissions between films.
Advance tickets available at BMCM+AC: 828-350-8484
In conjunction with The Shape of Imagination its yearlong celebration of the women of Black Mountain College, on Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 pm, the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and the Fine Arts Theatre will present three documentary films about the artists (Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa and M.C. Richards) in BMCM+AC’s current exhibition. All three of these gifted artists and educators spent significant time at Black Mountain College either as a student (Ruth Asawa) or faculty (Anni Albers and M.C. Richards). They all made significant contributions as artists, educators and, in the case of Richards and Albers, as writers. The June 11th evening of films will give the community an opportunity to see and hear these women as they speak about art, ideas and life. The three films will be screened consecutively with two short intermissions.
M.C. Richards: The Fire Within
"An inspiring film about a brilliant artist and teacher"
Arthur Penn, film and theater director & former BMC student
"This articulately perceptive film brings M.C. Richards close again, lets her make clear with all her unaggressive power that art is a gate, not a product, wisdom a source, not a judgment."
Robert Creeley, poet & former BMC faculty
"What M.C. Richards teaches isn't in the catalogues"
John Cage, composer & former BMC faculty
Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards joined the faculty at BMC in 1945. There, she taught writing, translated plays, danced, studied pottery and founded The Black Mountain Review. Richards inspired many students by the way she approached art, spirituality, education, and the whole person. M.C. Richards became one of BMC’s most popular faculty members in its later years. She wrote: “I have no criticism of Black Mountain, it was an entirely transforming, maturing and inspiring experience.” While at BMC, Richards played an essential part in maintaining community balance in the wake of Josef and Anni Albers’ resignation and the rise of Charles Olson as the college’s leader. Richards, a prolific writer and poet also pursued a career in pottery and wrote the influential book Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person. She directed plays at Black Mountain, and she translated Erik Satie’s play The Ruse of Medusa. Richards was among those who participated in the first “Happening,” entitled Theater Piece No. 1, a multi-media experimental performance orchestrated by John Cage in the school’s dining hall.
In this thought provoking documentary, you hear from a cadre of her associates and followers as they carry on her important work of inspiring people to live creatively. The one hour film features interviews with many renowned artists, poets, thinkers, and theologians including: Marjory Bankson, Paulus Berensohn, Julia Connor, Merce Cunningham, Adriana Diaz, Martin Duberman, Howard Evans, Matthew Fox, Gertrude Hughes, Karen Karnes, George Kokis, Judith Malina, Amy Evans McClure, Arthur Penn, and Robert Turner.
Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth
“If you plant a seed in the ground, the seed doesn’t say, well, in eight hours I’m going to stop growing. You put it in the soil, and that bulb grows every second that it’s attached to the earth. That’s why I think that every minute that we’re attached to the earth, we should be doing something.”
At the age of 16, Ruth Asawa and her family were interned in a Japanese-American camp on the West Coast. After her release, she attended Milwaukee State Teachers College. At he suggestion of fellow students there, Ruth then came to BMC in the summer of 1946 and stayed until 1949. Over these three years her teachers included Josef Albers, Ilya Bolotowsky, Max Dehn, Buckminster Fuller and Merce Cunningham. In the summer of 1947 Ruth studied basket weaving in Mexico, which influenced her inventive experimentation with wire sculpture. A successful artist, she received many public art commissions in San Francisco, where she settled with her husband Albert Lanier, also a former BMC student, including San Francisco Fountain at the Grand Hyatt on Union Square, the Mermaid Sculpture at Ghirardelli Square and the Japanese-American Internment Memorial Sculpture at the Federal Building Plaza in San Jose, California. Ruth also became an avid supporter of arts education in San Francisco.
Josef and Anni Albers: Art is Everywhere
In 1933 Josef and Anni Albers were invited to journey from Germany to teach at the newly-founded Black Mountain College, where they continued until 1949. The couple had a lasting influence on the course of 20th century art, design and education. Prior to their arrival at Black Mountain, Anni Albers studied weaving at the Bauhaus, and Josef was an instructor. Her bold, graphic design sense and innovative jewelry and textiles continue to receive wide acclaim. During her lifetime she received five honorary doctorates and a gold medal from the American Craft Council and was the first textile artist to be given a one-person exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949. This is the first in-depth documentary about these two important figures in 20th century art and design.
The film includes rare footage of Josef and Anni’s art, as well as insightful commentary from personal friends of the artists, including architect Philip Johnson, who arranged for them to come to Black Mountain College as refugees from Nazi Germany in 1933.
For more information please contact Alice Sebrell at 828-350-8484.