Gregory Masurovsky: A World in Black and White
March 18 – May 29, 2004
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
Gallery Hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday 12:00-4:00pm or by appointment
For the Artist & book signing for Black Mountain College Dossier No. 8: Gregory Masurovsky
Thursday, April 15, 6:00 – 8:00pm
With Gregory Masurovsky
Friday, April 16, 1:00 – 4:00pm
$30 / $20 students and BMCMAC members
Space is limited! Easels and drawing boards provided.
Call for workshop information and to register: (828) 350-8484
The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center is pleased to present an exhibition of prints and drawings by Paris-based artist and former Black Mountain College student Gregory Masurovsky. Concurrent with the exhibition BMCM+AC will publish another book in its award-winning series of Black Mountain College Dossiers. This will be the eight dossier and includes reproductions of Masurovsky’s artwork as well as historical photos and text by noted French thinker Michel Butor. The artist will teach a drawing workshop on Friday, April 16th from 1:00-4:00pm. BMCM+AC is partnering with the UNCA Art Dept. to present this workshop to the community.
Gregory Masurovsky found his way to Black Mountain College in 1947 on the recommendation of his brother, Disraeli. He was only 17 years old at the time and found himself surrounded by male students who were not only several years older but who were also veterans of WWII and experienced in worldly matters that he could only imagine. According to Masurovsky, he learned as much about life as about art from his fellow students at BMC. Among his classmates who subsequently became most celebrated were the filmmaker Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, Little Big Man, Alice’s Restaurant), the novelist James Leo Herlihy (Midnight Cowboy), and the color field painter Kenneth Noland. Masurovsky was impressed as a student to be part of an “audition” where John Cage played the piano and Merce Cunningham danced in order to see if they should be invited to be resident artists at the College. The audition was successful, of course, and the experience was “marvelous” according to Masurovsky. Above all Masurovsky found Black Mountain College to be an environment of modernity and the artistic avant-garde, and going home for his first vacation was, he has said, like “returning to the nineteenth century.”
At Black Mountain College, Masurovsky studied painting with Ilya Bolotowsky and Josef Albers. Although both were abstract painters, Masurovsky found Bolotowsky to be more receptive to different approaches than Albers who could be fairly rigid in his ideas. Masurovsky’s own work remained figurative, as he drew and painted fellow students who posed in their underwear. He enjoyed subjects other than art, like M.C. Richards’ poetry class, and has remarked that the informal, conversational quality of teaching in and out of class at BMC taught him more than the conventional structure of his earlier schooling.
After BMC, Masurovsky studied at the Art Students League of New York and then moved to Paris with his wife, artist Shirley Goldfarb, where he became immersed in the vibrant artistic energy of that city. He moved in the same circles as Jean-Paul Sartre, Giacometti, and other literary and artistic giants of the time. In 1961 he won the Critic’s Prize for Drawing at the Paris Biennale, and in 1963 he won the International Jury Prize for Etching from the same exhibition. He has had numerous solo exhibitions worldwide and is represented in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York as well as other important museum collections. Known for his technical mastery and subtle approach, Masurovsky is held in high esteem as a draftsman, printmaker and book artist. Though his work may technically consist only of black and white (pen and ink drawings), the subtle shadings and shifting tonalities achieved with his tiny pen lines suggest the range of a whole spectrum of color. In their dynamism they relive the process of their making, balancing adroitly between evolution and resolution.
This project received support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center preserves and continues the unique legacy of educational and artistic innovation of Black Mountain College for public study and enjoyment. We achieve our mission through collection, conservation, and educational activities including exhibition, publication, and public programs.