ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 6: The Writers of Black Mountain College

September 26-28, 2014
Asheville, North Carolina

This year's conference registration fee is $70 and includes a 1 year membership to the BMC Museum + Arts Center. If you are a current member of the museum, your conference fee is $40.

Conference Registration

The 6th Annual ReVIEWING Black Mountain College conference will focus on the writers associated with Black Mountain College and their influence on the form and content of poetry, literature and non-fiction. From the groundbreaking ideas of Charles Olson and Robert Creeley in poetry, to the incisive and revealing non-fiction of Francine du Plessix Gray and Michael Rumaker, to the scholarly and thought-provoking work of Suzi Gablik and Charles Perrow, this thematic focus is rich with material. Presentations and performances are not limited to this theme and may address any topic related to Black Mountain College and its legacy. Hosted and sponsored by Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and the University of North Carolina Asheville

charles olson

Keynote Speaker: Vincent Katz 
Vincent Katz is a poet, translator, critic, and curator. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, two books of translation, and his criticism has been published in numerous books, catalogues, and journals. He was awarded a Rome Prize Fellowship in Literature at the American Academy in Rome for 2001-2002 and has had residencies at the American Academy in Berlin and Yaddo. He was the editor of Black Mountain College: Experiment In Art, published by MIT Press in 2002 and reprinted in 2013 and curated an exhibition on Black Mountain College for the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2002. He is the author of The Complete Elegies Of Sextus Propertius (Princeton, 2004), which won the National Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association, and Alcuni Telefonini, a collaboration with painter Francesco Clemente, published in 2008 by Granary Books. He teaches in the MFA Program in Art Criticism and Writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he has created a course entitled "Investigating Interdisciplinarity." He has lectured extensively on poetry and visual art.

Featured Speaker: Laura Kuhn 
Laura Kuhn is the Exective Director of The John Cage Trust. The John Cage Trust was established in 1993 as a not-for-profit institution whose mission is to gather together, organize, preserve, disseminate, and generally further the work of the late American composer, John Cage. Its founding trustees were Merce Cunningham, Artistic Director of the Cunningham Dance Company, Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum, and David Vaughan, Archivist of the Cunningham Dance Foundation, all long-time Cage friends and associates. Laura Kuhn, who from 1986 to 1992 worked directly with John Cage, serves as both a founding trustee and ongoing Executive Director. In 2008, Anne d'Harnoncourt was replaced by Margarete Roeder, long-time gallerist to both Cage and Cunningham; in 2009, Merce Cunningham was replaced by Melissa Harris, editor-in-chief of Aperture.

The John Cage Trust functions as both a business concern and an archive and repository for Cage's work. In the latter capacity, it maintains sizeable collections of music, text, and visual art manuscripts. It also houses extensive audio, video, and print libraries, which are continually expanding, as well as a substantial permanent collection of visual art works by John Cage, which are made available for exhibitions worldwide. The Trust is open year-round by appointment to visitors to assist ongoing work involving, in diverse ways, the legacy of John Cage. As Executive Director, Kuhn travels extensively, lecturing on topics relating to Cage's life and work and conducting performance workshops. In 1998, simultaneous with a performance of the Cage/Cunningham collaboration, Ocean, and the premiere installation of Cage's Roaratorio at the Belfast Festival at Queen's, she was even called upon to cook a post-performance macrobiotic meal for some 80 people in its theater cafe! That same year, she delivered a series of lectures at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where Cage's work, perhaps needless to say, is very little known.

In 2007, the John Cage Trust went into residential placement at Bard College, where Kuhn serves as the first John Cage Professor of Performance Arts. That same year, two commemorative concerts were given: the afore-mentioned Lecture on the Weather, with an all-star cast that included Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, John Ashbery, John Ralston Saul, and others, and "Nexus Live!", a full evening of percussion works given by the celebrated ensemble. In 2009 the first John Cage Trust sponsored symposium was given with "John Cage at Bard College," with participation from Cage enthusiasts resident at Bard College. Source:

In conjunction with the conference, the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center will present the exhibition Dan Rice at Black Mountain College: Painter Among Poets exploring the work of this important, but often overlooked, Abstract Expressionist painter and BMC alumnus.


ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 5: Shaping Craft + Design


The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center announces ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 5: Shaping Craft + Design to be held October 11-13, 2013 at the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus.

Keynote Speaker Videos


Christopher Benfey, Conference Keynote Speaker is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English and Acting Dean of Faculty at Mount Holyoke, where he has taught since 1989. He was educated at the Putney School, Earlham College, Guilford College, and Harvard (from which he holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature). He has held fellowships from the Danforth Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2012, Benfey was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies. A prolific journalist, Benfey served as the long-time art critic for the online magazine Slate, and is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and The New Republic, among many other publications. His family memoir, Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay; Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival, was published in the spring of 2012 by Penguin. The book explores strands of Benfey’s family involving brick-making, pottery traditions in North Carolina, and the pioneering educational institution of Black Mountain College. A well-known scholar of Emily Dickinson, Benfey is the author of four highly regarded books about the American Gilded Age. These include A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade, which won both the 2009 Christian Gauss Award of Phi Beta Kappa and the Ambassador Book Award.He is also the author of The Double Life of Stephen Crane (1992); Degas in New Orleans (1997); and The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan (2003). For the prestigious Library of America editions, Benfey has edited both The American Writings of Lafcadio Hearn and the complete poems of Stephen Crane. His edition of essays on the Iliad by Simone Weil and Rachel Bespaloff appeared as War and the Iliad (NYRB Classics, 2005). Benfey's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and Ploughshares.


Jenni Sorkin, Conference Featured Speaker is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History, University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently completing a book manuscript, titled Live Form: Craft as Participation, which examines the confluence of gender, artistic labor, and the history of post-war ceramics from 1945 to 1975. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 2010-2011, she was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. In 2004, she was the recipient of the Art Journal Award, given by the College Art Association.

Ulrich Schwarz, Conference Featured Speaker is Professor of Visual Communication and Vice Dean at University of the Arts Berlin and a Managing Partner of Bertron Schwarz Frey, a design firm focused on Museography, Exhibition Design and Information Design. He is the author of publications such as "Space, Time, Characters" and "Museography and Exhibition Design" as well as contributions to "Information Graphics" and "Information Design Source Book".


Photo Credits:
Mary Caroline (MC) Richards, Alchemical Form, 1961, Stoneware. 22 x 6 x 6". Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Collection. Gift of the Estate of Jonathan Williams.
Lawrence Kocher, Bent Plywood Chair, 1942, Plywood and Screws, 25 x 18 x 24". Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Collection. Gift of Sandra Kocher.

BMC International Conference 2012

ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 4
September 28-30, 2012
Asheville, North Carolina

Thematic Focus: Looking Forward at Buckminster Fuller's Legacy

Co-sponsored by The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the University of North Carolina at Asheville and the UNC Asheville Howerton Distinguished Professor in the Humanities


Bios + Abstracts
Design Science Day
Looking Forward Exhibition
Buckminster Fuller Play at NC Stage
To Volunteer Click Here
Parking and Access
Conference Hotel Info
Press Release

Keynote Speaker:
Allegra Fuller Snyder, daughter of Buckminster Fuller; Director Emerita of the Buckminster Fuller Institute; Professor Emerita of Dance and Dance Ethnology, UCLA

Featured Speaker: Jason McLennan, CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council; author of the Living Building Challenge, winner of the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Featured Speaker: Joseph D. Clinton, President of Clinton International Design Consultants; Synergetics Collaborative; associate of Buckminster Fuller

Featured Speaker: Mel Chin, conceptual visual artist

Featured Speaker: David McConville, media artist; President of the Buckminster Fuller Institute

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, along with the Buckminster Fuller Institute and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, will present a 3-day conference exploring Buckminster Fuller's Legacy, including his forward-thinking work during the two summers he was at Black Mountain College (1948 & 1949), his innovative work in architecture, engineering and design science in the decades after BMC, and the work of those who are carrying his ideas forward into the future. In addition to panels and presentations, the conference will include an experiential Design Science Day held outdoors on the UNC Asheville campus on Saturday, September 29th.

Weekend cost for the conference:
$15 for BMC Museum + Arts Center members and students w/ID
$50 for non-members (includes BMC Museum + Arts Center membership)
Free for UNCA students, faculty & staff
Design Science Day - Free

In conjunction with the conference, the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center will collaborate with the Buckminster Fuller Institute to present an exhibition that explores the new generation of Fuller-inspired thinkers, artists and problem-solvers via The Buckminster Fuller Challenge, an award given annually by BFI to a project that addresses a planetary problem with an elegant, whole systems-based solution. The exhibition will also include some of Fuller's own inventive designs for solutions to the many needs he saw on "Spaceship Earth."



BMC International Conference 2011

ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3
An International Conference

October 7-9, 2011
Thematic Focus:
John Cage's Circle of Influence

Keynote Speaker:
Laura Kuhn, Director of The John Cage Trust


Click Here for more information.
BMC International Conference 2011 Schedule

Press Release


Co-sponsored by The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, the University of North Carolina at Asheville and The John Cage Trust.