First comprehensive U.S. museum exhibition on legendary Black Mountain College premieres at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

Black Mountain College, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Tworkov, Jack Tworkov Boston, MA – This October, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) opens the first comprehensive U.S. museum exhibition on Black Mountain College (BMC), a small, experimental school in North Carolina whose influence on art practice and pedagogy still has profound impact today. Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 focuses on how, despite its brief existence, Black Mountain College became a seminal meeting place for many of the artists, musicians, poets, and thinkers who would become leading practitioners of the postwar period. Figures such as Anni and Josef Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Ruth Asawa, Robert Motherwell, Gwendolyn and Jacob Lawrence, Cy Twombly, Jack Tworkov, Franz Kline, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley taught and studied at the college, among many others.

Jack Tworkov, Tworkov, Black Mountain College, BMC, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

The exhibition features 261 objects by nearly 100 artists, archival materials, and, true to the interdisciplinary nature of the school, a grand piano and dance floor for live, in-gallery performances. Organized by Helen Molesworth, the ICA’s former Barbara Lee Chief Curator, with Assistant Curator Ruth Erickson, Leap Before You Look will be on view from Oct. 10, 2015 to Jan. 24, 2016. Following its ICA debut, the exhibition will travel to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California (Feb. 21–May 14, 2016) and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (Sept. 17, 2016–Jan. 1, 2017.)

“We are extremely proud to present Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957, a comprehensive examination of Black Mountain College, whose radical art, artists, and ideas have had a lasting impact on the art of our time,” said Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss Director. “The most ambitious curatorial project ever undertaken by the ICA, the exhibition and performances pose an expansive vision of the arts and creativity—one that matches the ICA’s interdisciplinary artistic program and our view of the centrality of the arts in education.”

“Black Mountain College is an important historical precedent for thinking about relationships between art, pedagogy, democracy, and globalism,” said Molesworth. “Leap Before You Look examines the college’s critical role in shaping many major movements, and ideas in postwar art and education, including assemblage, contemporary dance and music, the New American Poetry, and the American studio craft movement—influences that can still be seen and felt today.”

The exhibition follows a gentle chronology, organizing the material in thematic sections, allowing each gallery to elucidate various aspects of BMC’s practice, pedagogy, and philosophy. Read More >