ReVIEWING Black Mountain College

International Conference

Co-hosted by BMCM+AC and UNC Asheville

November 12 – 14, 2021

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.

The 12th Annual ReVIEWING Black Mountain College conference (scheduled for November 12-14, 2021 in Asheville, North Carolina) will have a thematic focus on the remarkable and far-reaching impact of John Cage’s ideas and practices. Cage was a radical thinker, composer, musician, collaborator, visual artist, writer, and Buddhist. His legacy in music, performance, and visual art is incalculable. Through Revisiting John Cage, BMCM+AC encourages expansive conversation on, and responses to, the composer’s works and influences through a broad and global perspective.

The submission deadline for ReVIEWING 12 has passed, we look forward to announcing the full schedule in the near future.

Early Registration

Available Now


Draft Subject to Change

Presenter Bios + Abstracts

Draft subject to change

In order to continue offering our annual Black Mountain College Lake Eden Campus Tour, we have instated mandatory carpooling. Please arrive at BMCM+AC at 120 College Street for Coffee + Conversation between 9am – 10am to pick up your parking pass and follow us to designated tour parking. 

Keynote Speaker: Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust

Laura Kuhn is the executive director of the John Cage Trust, which she helped to found shortly after the composer’s death in 1992. Kuhn began working with Cage in 1986 on a variety of large-scale projects, completing her doctoral dissertation on Cage’s “Europeras” in 1992. From 1991 to 1996 she served as a founding faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance Program at Arizona State University West in Phoenix. In 2007, the John Cage Trust went into permanent residency at Bard College, where Kuhn became the first John Cage Professor of Performance Art. She has lectured and conducted performance workshops in venues as diverse as the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art. Other projects for the John Cage Trust have included a CD-ROM of sampled piano preparations from Cage’s composition, Sonatas & Interludes (1946-48), for use by MIDI keyboard musicians; an adaptation of Cage’s whimsical 1982 radio play, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet, to the stage; and a theatrical realization, under Kuhn’s direction, of Cage’s Lecture on the Weather, presented at Bard’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Her most recent publications include The Selected Letters of John Cage (Wesleyan University Press, 2017) and Love, Icebox: Letters from John Cage to Merce Cunningham (John Cage Trust, 2019). Laura Kuhn received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles and has served as the John Cage Professor of Performance Art at Bard College since 2007.

John Cage, Fire 6, 1985. Burned and branded paper. The Johnson Collection

A public reception will be held on the opening night of ReVIEWING 12 (November 12), celebrating the exhibition Don’t Blame it on ZEN: The Way of John Cage & Friends (September 3, 2021 – January 8, 2022) curated by Jade Dellinger, Director of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW. As the exhibition title and John Cage’s own words make clear, Cage wished only “to free Zen of any responsibility for [his] actions,” yet his profound influence continues to be seen, heard, and experienced through his work and the work of friends and countless followers. Don’t Blame it on ZEN: The Way of John Cage and Friends presents works by Cage and his contemporaries including Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Robert Rauschenberg, and M.C. Richards as well as those deeply influenced by his work and teachings such as composer Matana Roberts, artist and performer Aki Onda, interdisciplinary artist Andrew Deutsch, and abstract turntablist Maria Chavez.

This public reception will include the world premiere of Waves and Particles, a new composition by John Luther Adams, performed by the JACK Quartet. General admission is $15, with admission free to ticket-holding ReVIEWING conference attendees.

Browse past conferences


Thanks to our sponsors including the UNC Asheville Office of the Provost, and Osher Center for Lifelong Learning. Interested in sponsoring ReVIEWING 12 and supporting BMCM+AC? Contact us at to learn more.