Black Mountain College

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From the time of its founding by John Rice in 1933, Black Mountain College, located near Asheville, North Carolina, was known as one of the leading progressive schools of art in the United States.

Rice started the college after being fired from a teaching position at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Black Mountain was experimental by nature and committed to an interdisciplinary approach, attracting a faculty which included many of America's leading visual artists, poets, and designers.

In a relatively isolated rural location, with little budget, and with an informal and collaborative spirit, the college was able to attract a legendary roster of instructors. Some of the innovations, relationships and unexpected connections formed at Black Mountain would have a lasting influence on the postwar American art scene. For instance, Buckminster Fuller met student Kenneth Snelson at Black Mountain, and the result was the first geodesic dome improvised out of slats in the school's back yard.

Among those who taught there in the 1940s were Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Walter Gropius, Lou Harrison, Franz Kline, Jacob Lawrence, Richard Lippold, Charles Olson, M. C. Richards, Ben Shahn, and Jack Tworkov. Guest lecturers included Albert Einstein, Clement Greenberg, Bernard Rudofsky, and William Carlos Williams.

Among the notable alumni of Black Mountain College are Fielding Dawson, Robert Rauschenberg, Susan Weil, John Chamberlain, Ray Johnson, Kenneth Noland, Joel Oppenheimer, Jonathan Williams, Ruth Asawa, Robert De Niro, Sr., Cy Twombly, Basil King, and Kenneth Snelson. The college ran summer institutes from 1944 till its closing in 1956.

External Links

Black Mountain College Project (http://www.bmcproject.org/index.htm) - The Black Mountain College Project is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation devoted to the documentation of the history and influence of Black Mountain College, an experimental college which thrived in the mountains of North Carolina from 1933-1957. The site is being developed over a period of years and will be a major resource for those interested in this unique venture in American education.

PBS Produced a documentary on Black Mountain College: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/black_mountain_college.html

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