Black Mountain College


Black Mountain College was a progressive and experimental liberal arts school founded in 1933 in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Though it did not adhere to a specific ideology nor encourage a cohesive artistic style, at the core of the school was a belief in the total integration of art and life, learning through experience and experimentation, democratic self rule among students and faculty, and interdisciplinary collaboration. While faculty members Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline made the college a center for Abstract Expressionist painting during the ’40s and early ’50s, the school was the site of many watershed moments for individual artist’s careers. It was at Black Mountain that the sound artist and composer John Cage composed his seminal work 4:33; Robert Rauschenberg painted his monochromatic “White Paintings”; choreographer Merce Cunningham founded his dance company; and Buckminster Fuller designed the geodesic dome. As such, the school remains one of the most significant 20th-century experiments in arts education, art practice, and design.

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