Monday, February 6, 2023

Exhibition: Weaving at Black Mountain College: Anni Albers, Trude Guermonprez, and Their Students

Weaving at Black Mountain College:

Anni Albers, Trude Guermonprez, and Their Students

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, Asheville, NC
September 29, 2023 – January 6, 2024 
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.

Photograph: Will Hamlin, Mimi French in the BMC Weaving Workshop, ca. 1939-1940. Collection of BMCM+AC.

Zoom Meeting: Second Annual Ray Johnson (Un)Birthday Celebration

On Thursday, October 13 2022 from 6:30-7:30 pm, the second annual Ray Johnson (un)birthday celebration took place on Zoom. Co-hosted by Julie J. Thomson + Cary Loren.

This annual gathering of Ray Johnson fans and friends is held on or around Ray’s birthday to honor his life and art. (We know… he’d love to hate this!) 

Special guests this year were: John Walter, director of the award winning Ray Johnson biopic How to Draw a Bunny (2002), and Ellen Levy, Ray Johnson scholar and author of A Book About Ray (MIT press, 2024) and Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery, and the Struggle Between the Arts (Oxford, 2011). 

Watch the recording here.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Talk: How the Harriett Engelhardt Collection Came to Be at BMC

ReViewing Black Mountain College 13
Friday, October 6, 2022
UNC Asheville

This presentation shared research for our forthcoming exhibition, Weaving at Black Mountain College (Fall 2023 at BMC Museum + Arts Center), about who Harriett Engelhardt was, examine the collection of textiles that Anni Albers acquired in her memory, and share how BMC students at used this Collection in their study of weaving and textile design.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Leaf Studies Workshop

Saturday, November 13, 2021
ReViewing Black Mountain College 1

Fritz Horstman, Education Director at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, and Julie Thomson will co-present a workshop about the Leaf Studies Josef Albers developed, and taught at Black Mountain College, and later at Yale University.

The Leaf Studies are one of the least examined aspects of Josef Albers’s teaching and his landmark book The Interaction of Color. First we will look deeper into the leaf studies made by Josef Albers and his students and then participants will have the opportunity to experiment with, and make their own, leaf studies. Fritz will discuss how the Leaf Studies offer a bridge between Josef Albers’s Color class + Matière studies. Leaves collected from the Blue Ridge Mountains will allow participants to further experience and study the colors available to BMC students.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Zoom Meeting: Ray Johnson (Un)Birthday Celebration

Hosted by Cary Loren and The Book Beat, 26010 Greenfield Oak Park, Michigan
Thursday, October 14, 2021 

A Ray Johnson discussion and (Un)Birthday celebration held as an online Zoom Meeting to honor the artist. Cary Loren hosted the Meeting and John Held Jr., Richard Pieper, and Weslea Sidon joined me, since each of them interviewed Ray Johnson, and their interviews were published in That Was the Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson, which I edited.

Recording available:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Workshop: Environmental Humanities at Black Mountain College : Ray Johnson + Rivers, Hazel Larsen Archer + Trees, Jonathan Williams + Bluets, Stan VanDerBeek + Willow Reeds + Making John Cage’s Mud Pies

Environmental Humanities at Black Mountain College: 

Ray Johnson + Rivers, Hazel Larsen Archer + Trees, Jonathan Williams + Bluets, Stan VanDerBeek + Willow Reeds + Making John Cage’s Mud Pies

Saturday, September 20, 2019
ReViewing Black Mountain College 11

While art was at the center of the curriculum at Black Mountain College I offer that nature and experiences outdoor were also part of the curriculum there. When interviewed it was sometimes hard for people to put into words the effect of the landscape on them, however their experience of being outdoors, and the varied ways in which they were exposed to natural materials, can be found in their work. For this presentation I shared examples found in the work of five of the College’s artists: Ray Johnson, Hazel Larsen Archer Jonathan Williams, Stan VanDerBeek, and John Cage. 

My talk ended with an invitation to make Mud Pies, after a collaborative reading of John Cage’s and Lois Long’s Mud Book

My hope is that this discussion, and multisensory experience, offers us opportunities to connect to Black Mountain College through natural experiences.  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book- That Was the Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson

Edited by Julie J. Thomson
Publication date: September 4, 2018
Published by Soberscove Press
Distributed by ARTBOOK / D.A.P.

Ray Johnson (1927–1995) was a singular artist, whose life and work were inextricably linked. Born in Detroit, Johnson attended Black Mountain College before moving to New York, where his work anticipated Pop art and he was active in early Fluxus circles. Best known for his collages and Mail art activities, including what became known as the New York Correspondence School, he operated fluidly in a wide range of modes. For Johnson, everything and everyone were potential material for his art—any form could become a space for artistic activity—and the form of the interview proved no exception.

That Was the Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson brings together a selection of interviews and conversations from 1963 to 1987 that offer unique access to Johnson’s distinctive thinking and working methods. Throughout, Johnson’s responses are marked by his humor and close attention to language. Gathering these interviews for the first time, That Was the Answer serves as an exceptional introduction to Ray Johnson as well as a resource for those who are interested in gaining deeper insight into this artist and his kaleidoscopic body of work.