BLACK MOUNTAIN: An Interdisciplinary Experiment 1933-1957

Spector Books, 2015. First Edition, First Printing. Founded in North Carolina in 1933, Black Mountain College (BMC) ranks alongside the Bauhaus as one of the most innovative schools of the 20th century. Visual arts, economics, physics, dance, architecture and music were all taught here on an equal footing, and teachers and students lived together in a democratically organized community. The first director of the school was Josef Albers, and icons such as John Cage, Walter Gropius, Franz Kline, Charles Olson and Buckminster Fuller were among the many luminaries invited to teach. Inspired by the forward-thinking pedagogical ideas of philosopher John Dewey, the experimental, interdisciplinary college combined the ideas of radical European modernism with the philosophy of American pragmatism and teaching methods designed to encourage personal initiative as well as the social competence of the individual. As a result, the college played a foundational role in the development of a range of avant-garde concepts, and exerted an enormous influence on the development of the arts and ideas that still influence the art world today.

This richly illustrated book appears in conjunction with the Black Mountain exhibition. This gloriously designed and illustrated volume was first published for the exhibition An Interdisciplinary Experiment, 1933–1957, held at the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. It remains unrivaled for its sympathetic design and fulsome documentation. A profusion of archival materials―including photographs of classes in progress and college housing with its Albers-designed furniture, and page spreads from college bulletins and issues of Robert Creeley’s Black Mountain Review―is presented alongside contemporary essays. Black Mountain: An Interdisciplinary Experiment 1933–1957 traces the key moments in the history of this legendary school.