ReVIEWING Black Mountain College

International Conference

Co-hosted by BMCM+AC and UNC Asheville

at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center

ReVIEWING Black Mountain College conference is a forum for scholars and artists to contribute original work on topics related to Black Mountain College and its place in cultural history.

The format is designed to be interdisciplinary, with sessions that will include panels, presentations, performances, and workshops. BMC itself was a uniquely interdisciplinary organization, generating output from its faculty and students that often involved the melding of the visual, performing, and literary arts. Each year, conference participation reflects this; past presentations have explored wide-ranging, fruitful intersections such as (to name just a few of the most recent examples) how Charles Olson’s “projectivist” poetics inspired works on the stage and screen; the influence of choreographer Merce Cunningham on Abstract Expressionist painters trained at BMC such as Pat Passlof and James Bishop; the photography of poet-publisher-artist Jonathan Williams; the path from BMC’s first Summer Institute in honor of Arnold Schoenberg, to the design and philosophy of contemporary summer arts programs today; a performance connecting Ruth Asawa’s sculpture to contemporary dance; and a workshop offering attendees the opportunity to weave on looms with found materials, as Anni Albers’ BMC students did.


October 7 – 9, 2022

Thematic Focus: Leo Amino / The Visible and the Invisible: Submerged Histories of Abstraction

Keynote Speaker: Marci Kwon, Ph.D.

The 13th Annual ReVIEWING Black Mountain College conference (scheduled for October 7-9, 2022 in Asheville, North Carolina) will have a thematic focus on Black Mountain College faculty member and pioneering Japanese American sculptor Leo Amino. In conjunction with the conference, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center will present the exhibition Leo Amino: Work with Material, curated by Genji Amino, Director of The Estate of Leo Amino. This exhibition will demonstrate Amino’s ingenuity in working with new materials to investigate the dynamics of perception through material and phenomenal transparency. In particular, the exhibition will highlight his groundbreaking experiments with polyester resin beginning in the mid-1940s following the material’s declassification by the military after the Second World War. Amino is the innovator of cast plastics in the history of American sculpture, and the first artist in the United States to create a full body of work in the medium.

The conference aims to reconstruct submerged histories of experimental practice in 20th century American art during the years of operation of Black Mountain College: 1933-1957. With an emphasis on the legacy of Black Mountain for artists of color and members of other marginalized groups, the conference seeks to interrogate more broadly the omissions and orthodoxies of prevailing narratives that have limited the ways we write about the relationship between race, gender, experiment, and abstraction in the 20th century.

Keynote Speaker: Marci Kwon, Ph.D.

A scholar of American Art, Marci Kwon’s research and teaching interests include the intersection of fine art and vernacular practice, theories of modernism, cultural exchange between Asia and the Americas, critical race theory, and “folk” and “self-taught” art.  She is the co-director of the Cantor Arts Center’s Asian American Art Initiative. Her book Enchantments: Joseph Cornell and American Modernism was published by Princeton University Press in 2021. Additional articles address Isamu Noguchi; John Kane and amateurism, and labor; race and value; Japanese internment crafts; Surrealism and folk art at the Museum of Modern Art; Martin Wong and Orientalism; and Asian American art. She is currently working on a book about art, artifice, and authenticity in post-Earthquake San Francisco Chinatown. Kwon has also held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. At Stanford, Kwon is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Asian American Studies, African and African American Studies, American Studies, the Center for East Asia, and Feminist and Gender Studies, and serves on the steering committee of Modern Thought and Literature.

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Past Sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors including the UNC Asheville Office of the Provost, and Osher Center for Lifelong Learning. Interested in sponsoring ReVIEWING and supporting BMCM+AC? Contact us at to learn more.