images & copy courtesy of Mary Emma Harris www.bmcproject.org

Black Mountain College Bulletin
Vol. 1, No. 3 (February 1943)

"If you are interested in the world you live in and the way men think and act; if you are interested in finding a purpose in your own working and learning, Black Mountain will attract you. If you are interested in an education which asks the best you have to give; if you are willing to give yourself to education all day every day; if you can put aside preconceived notions of the world and of yourself, you will like Black Mountain.

Here you will find a college whose faculty consists of a distinguished group of scholars and artist from America and abroad; whose students represent an economic and geographic cross-section of this country, with several coming from foreign lands; a college whose students are characterized by unusual vigor, curiosity and self-reliance..."


"Black Mountain College is a small cosmopolitan community of students and teachers living together an education stressing democratic co-operation. Through participation in the life of the community, through study and discussion of the past and present, through the discipline of the studio, the laboratory, and a comprehensive campus work-experience program, it is preparing citizens with the understanding and the maturity to play a constructive part in the world at war and in the post-war world.

Black Mountain differs in many respects from traditional liberal education. It rejects the required curriculum, the report card, the board of trustees. It finds that intensive and independent work under faculty guidance, discussion classes, continual contact with teachers, are more conducive to learning than the syllabus and the weekly quiz. It finds that participation in the operation and maintenance of the College and its community are better guides to a democratic way of life than fraternity politics or organized athletics. It finds that eager students living, studying, working with interesting people in a stimulating community discover themselves and the world as they never could through the academic formality of a more traditional college..."

"Art at Black Mountain is based upon art as an active, appreciative and creative force permeating all activities of life. It attempts to aid the student to see in the widest sense; to open his eyes to his own living, being, doing; to understand the essential crafts, tools and materials. Art students learn that the experience of creating, constructing, and seeing is not a hobby or a pastime..."


architecture that forces an empathic subject / object relationship - project by Philippe Rahm

Project for a new national museum in Estonia
by Philippe Rahm

The objective is to satisfy the museum's obligation to preserve the materials of the artworks through time by shielding them from certain natural chemical and physical conditions that bring about their deterioration... metal must be preserved in a very low-humidity air environment, between 15% and 30%, to prevent rusting by oxidation. Organic materials, on the contrary, need a higher rate of relative humidity for their preservation, up to 60%, in order to prevent their dehydration. But this rate must not surpass 75% so as not to risk leading to mold... Light causes the alteration of materials at the molecular level, both by photochemical deterioration... as well as by heating the material... For this reason, paper must be preserved at an approximate maximum intensity of 20 lux while wood or metal withstands stronger luminosities.

It follows that the museum is organized as a reduction of the natural climate, progressing rigorously and rhythmically from the exterior toward the interior, from the most humid to the driest, from the brightest to the darkest, from the strongest in ultraviolet to the weakest... The plan of the museum is organized as a concentric series of enveloping glass layers, traversed one after another as one passes from the more corrosive ambient natural milieu to a milieu that is more and more diminished and chemically neutral. From the exterior to the heart of the museum, five successive climates with progressively different humidity levels follow one after the other. It is foremost the degree of air humidity that is gradually reduced from layer to layer, passing from 76%, to 60%, then 55%, next 35% then 30%, and finally 20%. Simultaneously, the natural light intensity decreases as the visitor penetrates into the museum, descending progressively from 5000 lux to 10 lux in the innermost part of the museum...

The character of the architecture materializes from this route through the invisible... The museum visit is arranged according to this progression, as a gradual immersion in the chemical and physical parameters of the artworks' preservation. The exhibit rooms form a continuum... through which one may freely circulate, migrating through the climates. The visitor is offered a cultural experience but also a sensory one. The works are no longer grasped by sight alone but through the physiology of space and the body as well. Through a descent into obscurity...


loss of site

Robert Morris

One crosses the threshold of the logic of the monument, entering the space of what could be called its negative condition - a kind of sitelessness, or homelessness, an absolute loss of place. Which is to say one enters modernism...
- Rosalind Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field


reiner ruthenbeck

Reiner Ruthenbeck

a universe held together not by Mind but by guy wires, or glue, or the accidents of gravity
- Rosalind Krauss


crystal baskets


from Weaving, Christina Martin

from On Weaving by Anni Albers

bmc profile : anni albers

On Weaving
Anni Albers

Ch 8 : Tactile Sensibility
"All progress, so it seems, is coupled with regression elsewhere. We have advanced in general, for instance, in regard to verbal articulation - the reading and writing public of today is enormous. But we certainly have grown increasingly insensitive in our perception by touch, the tactile sense.

No wonder a faculty that is so largely unemployed in our daily plodding and bustling is degenerating. Our materials come to us already ground and chipped and crushed and powdered and mixed and sliced, so that only the finale in the long sequence of operations from matter to product is left to us: we merely toast the bread . . . Modern industry saves us endless labor and drudgery; . . . it also bars us from taking part in the forming of material and leaves idle our sense of touch and with it those formative faculties that are stimulated by it.

We touch things to assure ourselves of reality. We touch the objects of our love. We touch the things we form. Our tactile experiences are elemental. If we reduce their range, as we do when we reduce the necessity to form things ourselves, we grow lopsided. We are apt today to overcharge our gray matter with words and pictures, that is, with material already transposed into a certain key, pre-formulated material, and to fall short in providing for a stimulus that may touch off our creative impulse . . .

Concrete materials and also colors per se, words, tones, volume, space, motion - these constitute raw material; and here we still have to add that to which our sense of touch responds - the surface quality of matter and its consistency and structure . . .

Surface quality of material, that is, materiere, being mainly a quality of appearance, is an aesthetic quality and therefore a medium of the artist; while quality of inner structure is, above all, a matter of function and therefore the concern of the scientist and the engineer. Sometimes material surface together with material structure are the main components of the work; in textile works, for instance, specifically in weavings or, on another scale, in works of architecture . . ."

Ch 10 : Designing As Visual Organization
"It is safe, I suppose, to assume that today most if not all of us have had the experience of looking down from an airplane onto this earth. What we see is a free flow of forms intersected here and there by straight lines, rectangles, circles, and evenly drawn curves; that is, by shapes of great regularity. Here we have, then, natural and man-made forms in contradistinction. And here before us we can recognize the essence of designing, a visually comprehensible, simplified organization of forms that is distinct from nature's secretive and complex working . . .

When the matter of usefulness is involved, we plainly and without qualification use our characteristics : forms that, however far they may deviate in their final development, are intrinsically geometric.

. . . A work of art, we know, can be made of sand or sound, of feathers or flowers, as much as of marble or gold. Any material, any working procedure, and any method of production, manual or industrial, can serve an end that may be art . . ."

haeckel's nature

Ernst Haeckel


a beehive that isn't haeckel's, but could be

aqua . . .

Manfred Pernice

Tom Burrows

this is luminosity


growth rings...

Jonathan Bouknight, Network Drawing

Bryan Nash Gill


Maison Martin Margiela
Stefan Bruggemann