new-york

Robert Rauschenberg, Portfolio 1 (detail), 1952, seven black- and-white photographs mounted on rag board, each 5 5/8 x 3 1/4".

“Black Mountain College and Its Legacy”

Loretta Howard Gallery

Robert Rauschenberg, Portfolio 1 (detail), 1952, seven black- and-white photographs mounted on rag board, each 5 5/8 x 3 1/4".

Despite the close confines of a Chelsea gallery, this survey of 120 works by thirty-five painters, sculptors, poets, photographers, potters, and weavers vividly conveyed the achievements of the Black Mountain crowd—work seemingly stronger today, when most of the school’s storied participants are gone. Founded in North Carolina in 1933, Black Mountain College was a manifestation of the period’s romanticization of the avant-garde; the school shut down in 1957 for want of bucks. Fascism’s glory years had forced many of Germany’s leading artists and intellectuals into exile, among them the members of the faculty of the Bauhaus. Josef Albers, one of its notables, was hired to direct the Black Mountain program at its inception, while his wife, the celebrated Anni Albers, was asked to direct the weaving workshop.

The teaching program at the college was very casual indeed, with

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