Ray Spillenger Exhibit at Black Mountain College Museum

Black Mountain College, an experimental liberal arts college that existed from 1933 to 1957, and which produced several influential artists, poets, musicians and dancers of the late 20th century, has been receiving some well-deserved recognition lately.

Abstract artwork using black, gray and orange brush strokes

Ray Spillenger Sketch 7: Orange and Black, c.1948-49 Mixed media on paper Estate of Raymond Spillenger

For example, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is inviting its visitors to explore Black Mountain College with a comprehensive exhibition that was recently featured in the New York Times

Black Mountain College was located in — you guessed it — Black Mountain, North Carolina, not far from the Inn on Mill Creek B&B. And while the college’s former campuses are now utilized by a kids’ summer camp, an events facility, and the YMCA, you can still immerse yourself in the history and legacy of college with a visit to the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center in downtown Asheville (just a few minutes west of Black Mountain).

If you’ll be traveling to the Asheville/Black Mountain area between now and May 21, 2016, you’ll have the opportunity to catch a special exhibit at the museum: Ray Spillenger: Rediscovery of a Black Mountain Painter. From the museum’s website:

“Ray Spillenger studied with Willem de Kooning and Josef Albers at Black
Mountain College during the summer of 1948. This exhibition comprises
two decades of his work from the BMC era to the late 1960s. Spillenger’s
paintings demonstrate a total commitment to abstraction and a
passionate love of color.

Abstract painting with shades of blue and green

Ray Spillenger Untitled (Small Zig 10), c. 1965-70 Oil on canvas Estate of Raymond Spillenger

This is a very exciting exhibit because these are works that had not been shown to the public while Ray Spillenger was alive. He had kept them in his home in New York for decades and when he passed away, his family wanted to know if the artwork should be preserved. Enter Dr. Theodore Stebbins, Harvard Art Museums Curator of American Art and Professor Emeritus and all-around expert in this sort of thing. Dr. Stebbins knew that this art was something special, and he is, in fact, the curator for the upcoming exhibit at Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center.

If you have a chance to see the museum and the exhibit, you should go. For more information about the exhibit, visit www.blackmountaincollege.org/ray-spillenger-rediscovery-of-a-black-mountain-painter.

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