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

Curated by Sara VanDerBeek and Chelsea Spengemann, Director of the Stan VanDerBeek Archive

Fall Programs

Photo by Michael Oppenheim

VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek presents artwork by Sara VanDerBeek (b. 1976, Baltimore, MD) alongside work by her father, Stan VanDerBeek (b. 1927, New York, NY – d. 1984, Baltimore, MD), a Black Mountain College alum.

Stan’s time at Black Mountain (1949-1950 and Summer 1951) was intensely reflective and experimental. He emerged as an artist in the middle of the twentieth century with visions of making art that was accessible, reproducible and perhaps most importantly combined multiple mediums. Stan was influenced by the longevity of ancient symbols as much as by an anxiety for the future. This exhibition includes his paintings from the early 1950s; pioneering animated films 1959-1969 with soundtracks by fellow BMC alums John Cage and Jay Watt; and archival material related to his work at BMC.

Stan’s proclivity for language and technology is realized to stunning effect in works on view such as Poemfield No. 7 (1967), a film which has been particularly influential on Sara’s experiments with color, pattern, and variation. Several poems and images on celestial themes also connect directly to Sara’s Rising Moon and Setting Sun (2017), a photographic series that appears to vibrate and shift through a montage of cylindrical forms and sublime atmospheric hues.

Deeply committed to protecting and making accessible her father’s work for as long as she’s been an artist and arts educator herself, Sara’s role in how Stan is received today is as powerful as the influence Stan continues to have on her work. For this exhibition, she has selected a precise grouping of her recent photographs and sculptures that together form a meditative, immersive environment for considering how the ethos of Black Mountain College might be transmitted across generations. The fragility and strength evoked in Sara’s work through her pointed manipulations of color, scale and surface convey a respect for her predecessors as well as a drive to generate meaningful images in an era in which their proliferation, as foreseen by her father’s work, intensifies with each passing moment.

  • VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek at BMCM+AC (September 20th - January 4, 2020). Photo by Michael Oppenheim.

VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant, the Merce Cunningham Centennial, and North Carolina Arts Council.

Additional thanks to BMCM+AC Board of Directors, Windgate Charitable Foundation, Goethe Institute, and Susan Rhew Design and to the following lenders to the exhibition: The Approach, David McConville, Metro Pictures, MoMA Film Study Center, and Western Regional Archives, State of North Carolina.

About Stan VanDerBeek

Stan VanDerBeek was a pioneer in the world of digital media and experimental film. He began his career as a visual artist at Black Mountain College. Throughout his life, he remained committed to his radical aesthetic sensibilities developed during his studies at BMC.

Stan VanDerBeek, Poemfield No. 1 (1967), 16mm film transferred to HD video, color, silent, 5:00 min. Realized with Ken Knowlton. © Estate of Stan VanDerBeek. All rights reserved.

About Sara VanDerBeek

Sara VanDerBeek earned a BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1998. Her photographs utilize a variety of formal strategies and references yet remain consistently engaged with issues of memory and the experience of time and space. She first became known in the mid-2000s for photographs featuring her own makeshift sculptural configurations constructed from found images and pieces of wood, metal, and string. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2010); Hammer Museum, University of California Los Angeles (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2014); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2015); and the Baltimore Museum of Art (2015). She lives and works in New York.

Sara VanDerBeek, Roman Stripe IV, 2016. Two Digital C-prints, Each 96 7/8 x 100 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.

Performance by Max VanDerBeek

Celebrating the opening reception for VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek, Max VanDerBeek performs a percussion piece accompanied by Stan VanDerBeek’s film “Merce Cunningham Dance Co. in 14th St. Loft/OffTV Paik on Canal St.” (1965).