July 12, 2023
For immediate release

Kira Houston, Outreach Coordinator
828.350.8484 | kira@blackmountaincollege.org

THE COUNCIL, 2018, photographic series, “Founder’s Room: Third Plenary Session on the Future of the Institution,” chromogenic print mounted on Dibond. 159 X 304 cm. Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, courtesy Galleria Laveronica.

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center awards the second annual BMC International Artist Prize to Adelita Husni-Bey

This annual grant of $20,000 is awarded to international or national artists working in the spirit of Black Mountain College (1933-1957).

Following an extensive search across disciplines, BMC Prize nominators Arooj Aftab, Bonnie Jones, Euridice Arratia, Richard Colton, and Daniela Perez selected Adelita Husni-Bey as the recipient of the $20,000 annual grant for international or national artists working in the spirit of Black Mountain College (1933-1957).

BMC Prize artists have the opportunity to develop their practice in a context that is rich with artistic and cultural significance and ongoing contemporary relevance through a guided site visit to the historic Black Mountain College campus at Lake Eden with BMCM+AC staff, transportation to Asheville, and a four-day stay to spend time at BMCM+AC, with a tour of the exhibitions and archival support at the museum and neighboring Western Regional Archives.

Origins of the Prize
Black Mountain College (BMC) was a uniquely global college, with ideas and ideals grounded in worldviews that extend beyond the Western canon. In the same way, the legacy of the college has taken root across the globe, evolving and expanding to encompass disparate identities and forms of expression. BMCM+AC is dedicated to preserving the history of BMC as well as facilitating new work through collaboration with contemporary artists. As we advance this mission, we are privileged to have a blueprint set forth by Black Mountain College that valued the greater good, experimentation, and accountability. Funded by cultural pollinators Hedy Fischer and Randy Shull, The BMC Prize will allow BMCM+AC to continue on this path by building relationships and creating an impact with intention by supporting the creation of new work by the most innovative artists working within the BMC tradition today. The BMC Prize reflects the spirit of Black Mountain College as a place conducive to experimentation, where global social movements, communitarian efforts, and process-based practice flourished.

About the 2023 BMC Prize Recipient: Adelita Husni Bey

Adelita Husni-Bey’s work focuses on intersecting questions of gender, race, and class using collectivist and non-competitive pedagogical models within the framework of contemporary art. Her practice involves the analysis and counter-representation of hegemonic ideologies through popular education methodologies. Practicing as both an artist and a pedagogue she activates creative processes, such as role-playing, group undertakings, filmmaking and study sessions, producing situations for collective analisys. Working with a wide array of groups including students, athletes, lawyers, activists and architects, Adelita has developed methodologies that allow her and her collaborators explore their own relationship to the social and economic power of our present times.

Select Honors: Her work was part of the Italian pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, 2017, and her first US solo exhibition Chiron was exhibited at the New Museum, New York, 2019. She has participated in Being: New Photography 2018, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018; Dreamlands, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2016; The Eighth Climate, 11th Gwangju Biennale, 2015; Really Useful Knowledge, Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, 2014; and Utopia for Sale?, MAXXI Museum, Rome, 2014.

Portfolio | Work and Biography – Kadist

Work: After the Finish Line | Interview: Postcards from the Desert Island

BMC Prize Nominator Euridice Arratia remarks: “Adelita Husni Bey is one of the most audacious and talented artists of her generation. Her groundbreaking installations are based on a profound belief in the importance of community, the transformative power of experimental pedagogy as well as other collaborative practices. Her work involves the participation of collectives and individuals (nurses, activists, schoolchildren, immigration lawyers to name a few) which defy conventional definitions of art audiences. Husni-Bey’s interdisciplinary work gives an active voice to the participants, allowing us to see and engage with realities that are often hidden from many of us.”

BMC Prize Nominator Richard Colton remarks: “It seems made in heaven: a meeting of an artist, Adelita Husni-Bey, whose art springs from her own engagement in noncompetitive pedagogical methods, with the history, community and archives of Black Mountain College. Adelita receiving the Black Mountain College Prize is a balm to the spirit.  The art that emerges will make us all better!”

About the Nominators

Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American improvising musician, poet, and performer working with electronic sound and text. She performs solo and in numerous collaborative music, film, and visual art projects. Bonnie was a founding member of the Transmodern Festival and CHELA Gallery and is currently a member of the High Zero Festival collective. In 2010, she co-founded TECHNE, an organization that introduces young female-identified women to technology-focused art making, improvisation, and community collaboration. TECHNE’s programs are delivered through partnerships with grassroots organizations that share an aligned commitment to racial and gender equity. She has received commissions from the London ICA and Walters Art Museum and has presented her work extensively at institutions in the US, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Bonnie was a 2018 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. Born in South Korea, she was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland and Providence RI on the lands of the Susquehannock, Piscataway, Algonquian, and Narragansett.

Arooj Aftab is a Grammy award winning singer, composer, and producer who works in various musical styles and idioms, including jazz, minimalism, and Urdu poetry. She has been named one of NPR’s Top 100 composers, and has been featured on several best concerts lists, including The New York Times. Her Vulture Prince album was met with critical acclaim from 

The Guardian, Time Magazine, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. Aftab has performed at major international music festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury, Primavera Sound Barcelona, Roskilde Festival, and Montreal Jazz Festival. She has also performed at Performance Art Centers such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, and The Broad. Aftab is a 2023 United States Artists Fellow and a recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Music.

Richard Colton is the founder and director of an interdisciplinary arts’ residency program at The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, this summer working with Gandini Jugglers and Sandbox Percussion in a new collaboration around the music of Xenakis. Richard leads Movement Without Borders at Judson Memorial Church, a program he founded that brings together artists and activists around the urgent issues of immigration and homelessness. In 2023 he co-conceived and produced a dance film to celebrate the centennial of Ellsworth Kelly’s birth. In 2024 he will be curator for Max Roach100@The Joyce Theater. Colton is currently editing a film he created inspired by the writings of Clarice Lispector. 

Euridice Arratia is a curator and art advisor based in the Paris metropolitan area. In 2006, she opened the Arratia Beer gallery in Berlin with Elizabeth Beer. She served as director at Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris from 2018 to 2020. Arratia’s roots are in New York City, where she began as an independent curator and received her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has also written several articles for publications such as Frieze and Bomb Magazine.

Daniela Perez is a contemporary art curator based in Mérida. She currently works at Fundación T.A.E. as curator and coordinator of art projects. In 2017-18 she was selector for the Artes Mundi prize in Cardiff, UK. Between 2015 and 2017 she was deputy artistic director at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. In 2015 she curated the exhibition We Must Become Idealists or Die. Gustav Metzger at Jumex Museum. She has been awarded curatorial grants by the Foundation for Arts Initiatives (2020 and 2013) and was part of the curatorial team of the 9th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil (2013). In 2011 she co-founded a platform to conceptualize, develop and promote contemporary art projects in diverse formats called de_sitio. Between 2007 and 2011 she was associate curator at Museo Tamayo. She has worked at diverse institutions, including Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo; New Museum, New York; Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City. Daniela writes regularly for different publications and has taught at La Esmeralda and Soma. She obtained her MA degree in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London.

Black Mountain College (1933-1957) and Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center

Founded in 1933, Black Mountain College was one of the leading experimental liberal art schools in America until its closure in 1957. After the Bauhaus in Germany closed due to mounting antagonism from the Nazi Party, Josef and Anni Albers readily accepted an offer to join the Black Mountain College faculty. During their 16-year tenure in North Carolina, the Alberses helped model the college’s interdisciplinary curriculum on that of the Bauhaus, attracting an unmatched roster of teachers and students including R. Buckminster Fuller, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards, and Robert Rauschenberg.

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) was founded in 1993 to celebrate the history of Black Mountain College as a forerunner in progressive interdisciplinary education and to celebrate its extraordinary impact on modern and contemporary art, dance, theater, music, and performance.

The museum is committed to educating the public about the history of Black Mountain College and promoting awareness of its extensive legacy through exhibitions, publications, lectures, films, seminars, and oral histories. Through our permanent collection, special exhibitions, publications, and research archive, we provide access to historical materials related to the college and its influence on the field.

BMCM+AC provides a forum for multifaceted programming in a dynamic environment in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Our goal is to provide a gathering point for people from a variety of backgrounds to interact – integrating art, ideas, and discourse.