Black Mountain

An interdisciplinary Experiment 1933 – 1957

Black Mountain College: Josef Albers Zeichenkurs auf der Veranda der Lee Hall, Blue Ridge Campus Frühling, 1936. © Courtesy of Western Regional Archives, States Archives of North Carolina [Ausschnitt]

The Nationalgalerie in Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin owns two works by Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly produced in 1951/52 at Black Mountain College. These works were the starting point for a new exhibition on the legendary Black Mountain College (BMC), which operated in the US state of North Carolina from 1933 to 1956. The BMC was founded in 1933 by John Rice as a learning community. Rice’s concept was revolutionary in how it connected the natural sciences and humanities with other various artistic disciplines. Black Mountain College was where concepts of the avant-garde, which only started receiving public attention in the 1960s, were first developed experimentally. Rice selected radical thinkers who ventured far beyond the bounds of their respective disciplines to work at Black Mountain as instructors and lecturers. The first director of the BMC was the Bauhaus artist Josef Albers, who in 1933 had just emigrated from Nazi Germany. One of the central aims of the exhibition was to investigate the extent to which the Bauhaus influenced the BMC. It also presented three artist groups which formed in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s which exhibited similarities with Black Mountain College in terms of their experimental, cross-disciplinary orientation: the Eks-Skolen in Copenhagen, the Free International University by Joseph Beuys and the concept “Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts” developed by John Cage and others. The exhibition has not merely tried to present a review of history, but rather to reinvigorate discourse and examine issues of training and education in direct reference to current debates.

Artistic directors: Eugen Blume, Gabriele Knapstein
Artists: Anni Albers (US), Josef Albers, Joseph Beuys, John Cage (US), Harry Callahan (US), Robert Filliou (FR), Richard Buckminster Fuller (US), Charles Olson (US), Robert Rauschenberg (US), Cy Twombly (US) and others


Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart

Invalidenstraße 50-51

10557 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)