The Most Influential Southern Art School You Never Heard Of

At North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, Avant-Garde Artists Taught Students to Ignore Everything They Had Been Taught

“It must have been so much fun to be at Black Mountain,” a friend said the other day. She’d been up to Boston for the “Leap Before You Look” show at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the show now open at the UCLA Hammer Museum in L.A.

The exhibition documents the amazing achievements of students and teachers at a tiny experimental school called Black Mountain College, improbably functioning from 1933 to 1957 in the mountains of western North Carolina. Day by day, over years, innovators as diverse as Bauhaus-trained painter Josef …