The retrospective exhibition Black Mountain: an Interdisciplinary experiment 1933-1957 at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin is in its last days, closing this weekend with a symposium featuring talks by a host of academics, curators, researchers, and artists. The public symposium, beginning this evening and running all day tomorrow (25th-26th September), looks back at the experimental art school’s philosophy, maps its influence across the second half of the twentieth century, and maintains its relevance as an educational model.
Black Mountain College, founded in 1933 in North Carolina, USA, was an interdisciplinary school, that foregrounded experimentation, collaboration, and a democratic approach to education. Based on the philosophy of John Dewey, who argued learning is a social and interactive process, the school encouraged students take a mixture of science, humanities, and arts courses, and both students and teachers were responsible for for the daily running of the community. The school became well known for the prominent artists who taught and attended the college, and its influence on the avantgarde of the twentieth century is widely acknowledged. The exhibition hopes not only to lay out a history of the college’s artists and philosophies, but to keep alive debates on the importance of the progressive democratic educational model the college cultivated.
Showing until Sunday 27th September, the exhibition includes works by teachers such as Josef and Anni Albers, Richard Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Shoji Hamada, Franz Kline, Xanti Schawinsky, and Jack Tworkov, and students Ruth Asawa, Ray Johnson, Ursula Mamlok, Robert Rauschenberg, Dorothea Rockburne, and Cy Twombly. Alongside the exhibition runs a research component in collaboration with Freie Universität Berlin and the Dahlem Humanities Center, including the blog black-mountain-research.com, featuring articles and interviews, and this weekend’s public conference Black Mountain – Educational Turn and the Avantgarde. Don’t miss the last days of the exhibition and head along to the symposium starting at 6pm tonight. Open to the public, no prior registration necessary.
Blog entry by April Dell in Berlin; Friday, Sep. 25, 2015.