In the remarkable history of the radical Black Mountain College, founded in North Carolina in 1933, the legendary summer session of 1948 stands out.
Invited by the painter Josef Albers, the faculty included Willem de Kooning, who taught painting; Buckminster Fuller, who improvised his first geodesic dome; John Cage, who staged a festival devoted to the composer Erik Satie; and Merce Cunningham, who led a revolutionary program of dance with Cage on piano.
The students included the sculptor Ruth Asawa, the painter Kenneth Noland, and the collagist and mail artist Ray Johnson. This atmosphere of open pedagogy fanned the first flames of what we now call contemporary art.
Helen Molesworth is currently researching for an exhibition on Black Mountain College, and will present a report from the midst of her investigations.
Helen Molesworth is known for her virtuosic, historically informed, thematic exhibitions, which have included This Will Have Been: Art Love and Politics in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2012), ACT UP New York (2010), Dance/Draw, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2011), and Solitaire, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2008).
She was a founding editor of the journal Documents, and she is the Barbara Lee Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.
Presented by the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies
About the 2013-14 Graduate Studies Lecture Series
Each lecture is premised on the notion of "signal years." Each invited speaker will address a year of significance in his or her field or practice and link it to related transformations in the broader realms of politics and culture.
Charting a fascinating chronology over a wide range of disciplines, the series takes a close look at past moments that continue to resonate today.
Generous support for CCA public programs in San Francisco has been provided by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.