ArtTALKS: Two Ways of Looking at Black Mountain College: Ray Johnson and also the Photographers

Event date: 
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

In this talk Julie Thomson will combine and share her two areas of research and writing about artists who were at Black Mountain College (BMC). She will first focus on Ray Johnson, Black Mountain College student (1945–48) who led to Thomson's interest in the photographers at BMC. The second portion of her talk will focus on the photographers, and the 2017 exhibition, curated by Thomson, Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College.

Julie Thomson is an independent scholar and curator who lives in Durham, North Carolina. She has been researching and writing about the Black Mountain College artist, Ray Johnson since 2006 and photographers who were at Black Mountain College since 2015. In 2017 she curated the exhibition Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Her writing has appeared in Black Mountain College Studies and Raw Vision. She has an M.A. in Art History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was a Critical Studies Fellow in the Core Program, Museum of Fine Arts Houston in 2010-2011.

About Black Mountain College Semester 2018 at Appalachian

For Appalachian State University’s Black Mountain College (BMC) Semester in spring 2018, multiple departments across the university are collaborating with area museums and other venues to host exhibits, lectures and workshops that will highlight the importance of BMC’s influence within the Appalachian region’s creative, educational and political movements.

BMC operated from 1933 to 1957 near Asheville, in North Carolina’s rural Swannanoa Valley, and was an early leader of progressive, experimental education in the 20th century.

Sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences and in partnership with the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center, the Center for Appalachian Studies and the Department of English at Appalachian the spring 2018 semester will address the legacy of BMC through three interrelated projects:

  • a multi-sited exhibition series;
  • a special Black Mountain College issue of Appalachian Journal guest edited by Joseph Bathanti, in collaboration with Appalachian Journal Editor-in-Chief Sandra Ballard and Savannah Paige Murray, featuring prominent voices associated with BMC;
  • and a multipurpose digital timeline containing a museum guide, original scholarly resources and curricular materials designed for North Carolina schools. The digital timeline will explore the theme of “Place and Change” across six time periods relevant to the college.

A semester-long series of lectures, readings, workshops, film screenings, and special courses on Black Mountain College invite public education and academic inquiry, extended by web-streaming and online archiving. Importantly, a cross-section of students and faculty at Appalachian State will contribute to the project’s research and exhibition assets in the mold of collaborative learning at Black Mountain College.

About ArtTALKS

ArtTALKS are talks led by visiting or exhibiting artists, scholars and practitioners. These talks provide deeper insight into creative practice, context for current exhibitions or contemporary issues shaping the world in which art is created, experienced and interpreted.

Exhibition(s) related to this event

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
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High County Herbarium

Due to the light sensitivity of the plant material in the High County Herbarium installation, the exhibition has closed early. Thank you for your understanding as we work to save the valuable resources of the Biology department.