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Ray Johnson, Seven Centers of a Ladder, circa 1949-51

Ray Johnson, Seven Centers of a Ladder, circa 1949-51

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center

120 College Street

Asheville, NC 28801


Black Mountain College had important links to Mexico that until now have been little investigated. Two crucibles of 20th-century creativity, BMC galvanized and inspired artists and intellectuals from around the world, while Mexico’s innovations and age-old traditions—in fine and applied arts, architecture, poetry, music, performance, and more—dovetailed with, and indeed drove, global impulses toward modernism and beyond. Among the many key BMC figures whose lives were importantly touched by experiences in Mexico were Anni and Josef Albers, Ruth Asawa, John Cage, Jean Charlot, Buckminster Fuller, Carlos Mérida, Robert Motherwell, Charles Olson, Clara Porset, M. C. Richards, and Aaron Siskind. In turn, engagements with BMC and its legacy have played a role in shaping contemporary approaches to art in Mexico.

The project Black Mountain College and Mexico: translation in motion/traducción en movimiento, coming to BMCM+AC in 2023, examines these artistic reciprocities. The exhibition will feature original visual works and sound installations by prominent contemporary Mexican artists alongside vintage works by BMC artists and relevant archival materials—all highlighting the ways in which ideas and modalities are “translated” across materials, space, and time. Related programming, collaboratively conceived with Mexican counterparts and the Latinx community of North Carolina, will include “Bizarre Sabado”: a series of weekend events to take place over the course of the exhibition’s run, each focused on a different creative discipline, from traditional craftworks to avant-garde performance, poetry, and dance.

Black Mountain College and Mexico offers new historical research and a significant effort toward inclusion and understanding of multiple perspectives. In short, the project is an investigation into modes of communication—the arenas in which new ideas and alliances may take form.

Curated by Eric Baden (Project Director), David Miranda, and Diana Stoll