Opening Reception: Politics at Black Mountain College And Aaron Siskind: A Painter’s Photographer and Works on Paper by BMC Artists
The BMC community faced political differences, both internally and externally, throughout its 24-year history. The college was born in 1933 during the Great Depression, lived through WWII, was deeply affected by Hitler’s rise to power, and closed during the Cold War. Though often viewed today as an idyllic mountain refuge, isolated from tumultuous global politics, BMC took shape in the context of (and in response to) world events. Through a rich variety of media—artworks, images, texts, and audio—this exhibition explored the various political dimensions of Black Mountain College, both internal and external, that shaped the trajectory of the college and its community of people.
The exhibition of vintage photographs by Aaron Siskind revealed his elegant approach to abstraction through photography. Siskind taught photography at BMC during the summer of 1951 (along with Harry Callahan, Arthur Siegel, and Hazel Larsen Archer). As the only photographer accepted as an equal by the abstract expressionist painters, Siskind’s work remains as powerful today as it was in the 1950s. The exhibition also included selected works on paper by BMC artists John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Ray Johnson, and Jack Tworkov from private collections