Feature Articles

January 2011

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC, Offers Retrospective by Pat Passlof

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC, will present the exhibit, Pat Passlof: Selections 1948 - 2011, on view from Jan. 27 through May 27, 2012. A reception will be held on Jan. 27, from 5:30-7:30pm. The event is free for BMCM+AC members + students w/ID, $3 non-members.

The exhibition focuses on the work of painter Pat Passlof, an accomplished Black Mountain College alumna, member of the New York School and under-recognized figure in the development of Abstract Expressionism. A companion show will open at Western Carolina University’s Fine Art Museum the night before. This collaboration between the two museums will enable us to show a significant number of works by Passlof, from her early work made while a student of Willem de Kooning at BMC to her final paintings made in 2011. Passlof recently passed away at the age of 83.

The simultaneous exhibitions will be accompanied by a catalogue with color reproductions of the work, an essay by celebrated art critic Eleanor Heartney, and a selection of Passlof’s writings and correspondences. Heartney is a Contributing Editor to Art in America and Artpress and has written extensively on contemporary art issues for many publications.

Passlof was a student at Black Mountain College during the Summer Institute of 1948, when she studied closely with Willem de Kooning, Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, M.C. Richards and Merce Cunningham. Passlof’s time at BMC was central to her development as an artist. After BMC, she continued her studies with de Kooning as his private student in New York City.

In some circles, Passlof is known first for her role as the wife of painter Milton Resnick, an association which has, to some degree, eclipsed her own prolific career as a painter. However, before the beginning of her relationship with Resnick, Passlof’s influence on the New York School was strong. She was a driving force behind the cooperative exhibitions of the Tenth Street galleries, organizing collective outreach efforts and galvanizing collaboration.

A regular at the “Club,” Passlof quietly absorbed the constant dialogue of its members and continued those discussions with her contemporaries. To create a space for this second generation of voices, Passlof founded a junior Club on Wednesday nights, which was quickly ousted upon the discovery that their numbers had grown to over fifty in just three short weeks. Despite challenges such as these, Passlof persevered and left her mark as a practicing painter, teacher and writer - a path that she continues to forge today.

Pat Passlof: Selections1948-2011 will honor Passlof’s lifelong commitment to painting and provide much-needed recognition of her work as a teacher and writer about art. The show will feature a selection of 50-60 paintings by Passlof, representing over 60 years of her career, from her time at Black Mountain College to her most recent work.

BMCM+AC is organizing the show in partnership with Western Carolina University’s Fine Art Museum and installing Passlof’s work at both venues, from Jan. 26 through May 27, 2012. The two exhibitions are curated by Connie Bostic (BMCM+AC) and Denise Drury (WCU).

The Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center preserves and continues the unique legacy of educational and artistic innovation of Black Mountain College for public study and enjoyment. We achieve our mission through collection, conservation, and educational activities including exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 828/350-8484 or visit (www.blackmountaincollege.org).

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