Black Mountain College

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The studio went on a site visit to view the ‘Leap before you look, Black Mountain College’ exhibit at the Los Angeles Hammer Museum.This exhibit first led you through the short-lived timeline of the college, starting with the founding of the campus by John Rice in 1933 and ending with the closing of the campus in 1957 due to the dwindling number of both students and teachers.  Black Mountain College emphasized freedom of expression and it ran in way where there was no hierarchy between teacher and student and everyone had a voice, a governing power to make change and a responsibility to keep the campus operational during some of the darkest times in our history.

After experiencing the timeline of the college, the exhibit introduced all the prominent faculty and students and moved us through all of what the college had to offer.  In 1933 Josef and Anni Albers joined as the first visual arts faculty.  Josef imported basic courses from Bauhaus and taught materials, drawing and color, which he felt were the basic building blocks of visual form.  Also music and dance, photography, weaving, wood-working, costume design, building construction, farming and basic liberal arts courses were taught at Black Mountain College.  The exhibit moved you through each subject showcasing selected works and photographs from each class.

Because of the scarcity of resources and lack of funds, many courses were essential to the operation of the college and students had to get extremely creative with their materials.  This culture instilled a “making do” mentality which was carried out through every aspect of the college.

After we moved through the exhibit viewing a live demonstration of weaving, artwork, sculpture, photographs and jewelry we ventured outside and once again, hopped on the Heatherwick Spun Chairs where we relaxed and laughed while rolling around before we made our way back to the office.

Read about the exhibit here:

Jenn Shore