Weaving at Black Mountain College: Anni Albers, Trude Guermonprez, and Their Students will be the first exhibition devoted to textile practices at Black Mountain College (BMC). Celebrating 90 years since the college’s founding, the exhibition will reveal how weaving was a more significant part of BMC’s legendary art and design curriculum than previously assumed.
BMC’s weaving program was started in 1934 by Anni Albers and lasted until the College closed in 1956. Despite Albers’s elevated reputation, the persistent treatment of textile practices as women’s work or handicraft has often led to the discipline being ignored or underrepresented in previous scholarship and exhibitions about the College; this exhibition brings that work into the spotlight at last.
In addition to Albers, Trude Guermonprez taught her first classes in the U.S. at BMC, and Marli Ehrman and Tony Landreau brought their own perspectives on the discipline through their work and teaching. Among their students, some went on to find work as weavers, teachers, and textile designers, including Else Regensteiner, Lore Kadden Lindenfeld, Marilyn Bauer, Don Wight, and Joan Potter Loveless. Other students did not pursue future work in weaving but became successful artists and designers in their own right, including Ray Johnson, Don Page, Claude Stoller, Jane Slater Marquis, and Robert Rauschenberg.
Through informal interactions, lectures, and exhibitions, weaving practices, and ideas spread beyond the weaving program into other areas of the College, a transfer of knowledge termed “weaving literacy.” Repositioning the textile work of students and faculty in conversation with the rest of BMC offers a new, rich, and detailed understanding of the weaving program’s relationship to other disciplines.
Featured works will include objects from the BMCM+AC’s permanent collection, as well as loans from institutional and private collections, including the families of BMC weavers. Many of the objects to be shown have either never been publicly exhibited, or never been shown in the context of BMC. The exhibition will also feature work by selected contemporary artists whose work connects to the legacies of the BMC weavers: Kay Sekimachi, Jen Bervin, Porfirio Gutiérrez, Susie Taylor, and Bana Haffar.
The opening reception and a keynote lecture will take place in conjunction with BMCM+AC’s annual ReVIEWING conference hosted at UNC Asheville. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated exhibition catalogue. Catalogue contributors include the curators, Michael Beggs and Julie J. Thomson; Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation; Erica Warren, Independent Scholar; and Jennifer Nieling, Independent Scholar.
Curated by Michael Beggs and Julie J. Thomson