January 22 – May 21, 2016
Curated by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr.

Ray Spillenger studied with Willem de Kooning and Josef Albers at Black Mountain College during the summer of 1948. This exhibition comprises two decades of his work from the BMC era to the late 1960s. Spillenger’s paintings demonstrate a total commitment to abstraction and a passionate love of color.

After leaving Black Mountain College, Spillenger moved to New York City, where he became a member of “the Club,” Cedar Tavern regular, and friend to Abstract Expressionist luminaries including Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Philip Guston. Despite significant contributions to the formation of the New York School, Spillenger did not find commercial and critical success. Ray Spillenger: Rediscovery of a Black Mountain Painter invites a re-examination of 20th-century American art history through a corpus of work never shown to the public. A full color catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

Ray Spillenger, Composition: White, Aqua, Yellow, c. 1951-54, oil on canvas, 27 ½ x 23 ½ inches. Estate of Raymond Spillenger.

Related Programming


Thursday, August 5th at 7 PM Eastern | In-person and Streaming – A Happening meets variety show, this premiere episode of BMC-TV connects a wide range of the Asheville area’s most innovative performers, musicians, artists, and craftspeople. For over 25 years, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) has bridged the history of Black Mountain College with its lasting legacy in Western North Carolina and beyond. Broadcast from the stages, studios, and streets of Asheville, BMC-TV brings together our friends and collaborators who stoke the flames of experimentation sparked at BMC.


Thursday, August 19 at 7 PM Eastern | Streaming – “The Long Way Home,” a new solo work by Christopher-Rasheem Mcmillan, poses a way of contending with the Black body as a composite body, one that is connected to, affirms, and disrupts the archive and Historiography. Through this solo dance performance, McMillan tracks the Merce Cunningham technique through diaspora, emphasizing that the diaspora is never the homeland: it’s never home, it’s always somehow both exile in migration and in travel; different from, yet somehow always in dialogue with, its genesis.


Thursday, September 2 at 7 PM Eastern | Streaming – Chicago-based percussionist Tim Daisy and bassoonist, improviser, and composer Katherine Young (a recent Atlanta, GA transplant) bring their two-decades-long collaborative experience to the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center for a live recording of improvised duets. Investigating a wide array of sonic territory from laser-focused pointillism to extremes in density and texture, Katherine and Tim aim to use the art of listening combined with their shared performative experience to create a unique blend of sound-making, taking full advantage of the unique instrumentation involved.


October 13-16, 2021 | Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and UNC Asheville – This four-day event will bring together acclaimed artists and scholars to explore the intersections of art, faith, and spirit. Public events will include the southeast premiere performance of “through the mirrors of their eyes,” by Guggenheim Fellow Kimberly Bartosik; a tour of the exhibition “Don’t Blame it on ZEN: The Way of John Cage & Friends” curated by Jade Dellinger, Director of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW; film screenings; community workshops; lectures, and more.