June 3 – August 20, 2016 

Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards (1916 – 1999) was born in Weiser, Idaho and grew up in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from Reed College and received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1945 she joined the faculty at Black Mountain College (BMC) where she taught writing, translated plays, danced, studied pottery and founded The Black Mountain Review. She was one of BMC’s most popular faculty members in the late 1940s and later wrote: “I have no criticism of Black Mountain, it was an entirely transforming, maturing and inspiring experience.” While at BMC, Richards played an essential role in maintaining community balance in the wake of Josef and Anni Albers’ resignation and the rise of Charles Olson as the college’s leader during the 1950s. Richards was among those who participated in the 1952 Happening at BMC titled Theater Piece No. 1, a multi-media experimental performance conceived by John Cage and David Tudor.

M.C. Richards, Centering: Life + Art, 100 Years includes work from the BMCM+AC collection and from various lenders. Highlights for this exhibition include:

  • Works in clay made from Richards’ Black Mountain College years (1940s-50s) up to the 1990s, including a collaborative pot made with Peter Voulkos
  • Paintings including selections from her Egg Series
  • Poems, broadsides and typescripts from BMC and after, including Richards’ first book of poems printed at Black Mountain College
  • Photographs and ephemera related to Richards’ book Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person and other publications.

The exhibition is accompanied by BMCM+AC’s first digital publication, featuring images of Richards’ work and essays by noted scholars in the field.

Purchase the print catalogue here

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