September 25-27, 2008
Hickory, N.C.


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"The Spirit of Black Mountain"

Exhibit at the Hickory Museum of Art (

Through January 4, 2009

A North Carolina college that wrote a fascinating chapter in the history of education and the arts will be brought back to life by the Hickory Museum of Art in collaboration with Lenoir-Rhyne University and Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. The Black Mountain College visual arts exhibition will open the first weekend in September highlighting artists who defined this era in educational and artistic movements.

Though Black Mountain College closed its doors in 1957, the impact it had on the nation still remains today. Many of the BMC artists’ work can be seen in museums around the world and students are taught their unique methods in classrooms across the country.

The exhibition features two and three dimensional works by BMC faculty and students during and after their tenure at the college, including paintings, ceramics, prints, drawings, photography and furniture. Over 35 artists will be featured, most notably, Josef and Anni Albers, Hazel Larsen Archer, Joseph Fiore, Buckminster Fuller, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Rauschenberg, as well as, Elaine and Willem DeKooning, Robert Motherwell, Robert De Niro, Sr., and Ben Shahn.

German-American mathematician, educator, and artist, Josef Albers is remembered for his abstract paintings and color theory, as well as his innovative philosophy of art education. He taught at the Bauhaus, a German school famous for the design approach taught and publicized by founder Walter Gropious in 1919 and shut down by the Nazi’s in 1933. Fleeing Europe, Josef Albers, and his wife Anni were invited by American architect Philip Johnson to teach at the newly created Black Mountain College, where between 1933 and 1949 Josef ran the painting program and Anni ran the weaving program. German-American textile artist and printmaker Anni Albers is one of the best known textile artists of the 20th century.

Hazel Larsen Archer, who was both a student and a teacher at Black Mountain College, captured life on the college campus on camera. Because of her, we have a better understanding of what daily life was like on BMC’s campus. Once a Black Mountain student, Joseph Fiore is known for his abstract and representational landscapes that landed him a featured spot in the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum in New York City. American architect, designer, inventor, futurist, visionary, and BMC teacher Buckminster Fuller, known to many as Bucky, became famous around the world through his books and lectures and for revolutionizing the field of engineering by creating the geodesic dome.

Represented in collections at the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Jacob Lawrence, who was invited by Albers to teach painting the summer of 1946, is one of the best known 20th century African American painters. His “dynamic cubism” style brings the colors of Harlem, New York to life. Prints by American artist Robert Rauschenberg will be on display at the Hickory Museum of Art. Rauschenberg’s Pop Art is radically different from the work of his professor Josef Albers. Using popular culture as his muse, Rauschenberg refused to create anything seen as traditional. His experimentation – which began as a student at Black Mountain College where America’s most visionary artists and thinkers of the time were teaching – altered the course of Modern art.

This monumental exhibition is sponsored by Lenoir-Rhyne University, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, and Charlotte Paint Company, Inc. The Hickory Museum of Art is teaming up with Lenoir-Rhyne University to host a weekend celebration remembering the Spirit of Black Mountain College. Events begin on September 25th and run until the 27th. The exhibit will be on display at the art museum until January, but you’ll only get one weekend to experience this 20th century phenomenon first hand.

The Hickory Museum of Art is a United Arts Council of Catawba County Funded Affiliate and is located in the “SALT Block” Arts & Science Center of the Catawba Valley, 243 3rd Avenue NE. Regular hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM and Sundays from 1 – 4 PM. Admission is free everyday and families are welcome. For additional information, call 828-327-8576 or go to

The Hickory Museum of Art exhibit, The Spirit of Black Mountain, will run through Jan. 4, 2009. It features 150 artworks created by 40 BMC teachers and students, including historic photos of the college by Hazel Larsen Archer. Included in the exhibit are works by Anni Albers, Leo Krikorian, Ben Shahn, Robert Motherwell, Elaine de Kooning, Jacob Lawrence, Buckminster Fuller, Hazel Larsen Archer, and thirty more artists.

Lawrence "On the Way"

“On the Way” by Jacob Lawrence, one of the paintings on display at the Hickory Museum of Art.

Leo Krikorian, 386 BM, 1994
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the Black Mountain Museum + Arts Center

Leo Krikorian, 433 EV, 1995
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of the Black Mountain Museum + Arts Center