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The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Launches New Exhibit "Late Works by Irwin Kremen" on February 18


The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) presents the new exhibition In Site: Late Works by Irwin Kremen opening Feb. 18, 2011 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and extending through June 4, 2011. There will be a gallery talk by the artist at 11:00am on Sat., Feb. 19th. The exhibition will primarily focus on recent collages by this master collagist and Durham, NC resident, but it will also include a selection of his sculptures. A 48-page color catalogue will accompany the exhibition with an essay by the artist. This exhibition is organized by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center located at 56 Broadway in downtown Asheville, NC. After it closes here, the show will travel to The Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.

Working as a reporter and columnist for a local daily newspaper in New York City, five months after he had quit studying journalism at Northwestern University, Irwin Kremen came across an article featuring Black Mountain College. Without hesitation, he hopped on a train and joined this small, avant-garde community flourishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Kremen recalls that he “sought fresh experience, different ideas, expanded feeling, in short, another way to be in the world."

Although Kremen enrolled in Black Mountain College in 1946 to pursue his aspirations as a young writer, the progressive and collective environment he encountered there permanently re-defined his ideas about education. Black Mountain College exposed Kremen to such various and influential artists as poet and potter M.C. Richards and abstract painters Josef Albers and Kenneth Noland. Richards, who became a life-long friend of Kremen’s, prompted his first collage experiment nearly twenty years after Kremen had left Black Mountain College. What, at the time, had seemed to be only a playful assignment instigated what some consider Kremen’s ultimate metamorphosis, a transformation that continues to this day.

After Black Mountain College, Kremen lived in New York's Greenwich Village where he befriended John Cage, Merce Cunningham and David Tudor, all of whom spent time at BMC after Kremen left. Cage dedicated his famous piece 4'33" to Kremen. Eventually Kremen went back to school and earned his Ph.D in clinical psychology from Harvard and moved to Durham to teach at Duke in 1963. It was a few years later that M.C. Richards introduced him to collage making. Kremen is known for his elegant found-paper collages that employ a unique “hinge” construction technique. He says about his work, “I hunt out papers that have been in sun, in rain, covered with the dirt of the city. Yet as I look at them, I realize their exquisite potential.”

Irwin Kremen has had solo exhibitions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, as well as at a long list of galleries and museums. He won the Sam Ragan Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Fine Arts of NC in 1998.

Programming during the exhibition will include an Artist's Talk and an Advanced Collage Workshop with the artist as well as a panel about Writing on Art and a reading by three NC-based writers.

(Image provided by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.)

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