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Robert Motherwell Featured at Black Mountain College Museum

Robert Motherwell, BLACK GESTURE ON COPPER GROUND 1981 39x20 CR# 276-RS

Robert Motherwell, the noted abstract expressionist artist, was once an instructor at
Black Mountain College. Shown here is one of his works, Black Gesture on Copper, which can
currently be seen at the Black Mountain Museum of Art at 56 Broadway in downtown Asheville.

By Dasha Morgan- Robert Motherwell was an American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School, which included Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. At 56 Broadway in Asheville, there is an exhibition which features a selection of his work from 1965 to 1990. In 1945 and 1951 he taught (as did Willem de Kooning) at the Black Mountain College, which has now become known for the incredible number of extraordinarily talented students and faculty, who attended the school and later became famous.

Motherwell provided a strong link to the emerging Abstract Expressionist movement in New York City., As a teacher at the college in 1945 and then again in 1951, Motherwell provided a strong link to this movement. Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland studied under and were influenced by Motherwell. He first began to paint in the late 1930s as a Surrealist, but made the shift to abstraction in the 40s, becoming an avid speaker and writer on behalf of the avant-garde. Many exhibitions of his work have taken place place around the world.

“His background in philosophy certainly played a role in his work,” says exhibition co-curator Alice Sebrell; she worked alongside Jerald Melberg, whose gallery represents the Motherwell estate. “He believed in the value of psychic automatism, which required an openness and receptivity to the unconscious and a commitment to working in the now. Free association, chance, doodling, scribbling: All were elements of Motherwell’s process as a painter, printmaker, and collagist. For Motherwell, the art-making process was based much more on feeling than thinking and analysis.”

On Thursday, July 27 at 7:00 PM The Museum will be having a film screening: Robert Motherwell & the New York School: Storming the Citadel. Filmmaker Catherine Tatge, looks at the epic struggle undertaken by Pollock, de Kooning, Rothko, Kline, and Motherwell as they changed the trajectory of art in the 1940s and 1950s, inventing a new type of abstraction and, in the process, making New York the center of the art world. It includes archival footage, interviews with leaders of the movement, and footage of Motherwell at work. Free for BMCM+AC members + students w/ID / $5 non-members suggested donation.

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