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June 2011

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC, Features Works by Jack Tworkov and More

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC, will present the exhibit, JACK TWORKOV: The Accident of Choice - The Artist at Black Mountain College 1952, on view from June 17 through Sept. 17, 2011. A reception will be held on June 17, from 5:30-7:30pm. The event is free for BMCM+AC members and students w/ID / $3 non-members.

“It is in the nature of painting that it sometimes takes its own bent. If something good happens, I don’t want to be blind to it. But still, painting is not to be considered a technique of exploiting accidents.” - Jack Tworkov

Organized and curated by Jason Andrew, this historic exhibition includes important works by Tworkov, who taught painting at Black Mountain College during the summer of 1952. On view will be paintings and drawings by Tworkov ranging from 1948-52 including works from one of the artist’s most noted series, House of the Sun that began at Black Mountain College.

Also on exhibit will be letters, photographs, and ephemera from students and fellow artists including Fielding Dawson, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, and Stephan Wolpe; photographs of Jack Tworkov at Black Mountain College by Robert Rauschenberg, and several original works by Rauschenberg from 1952.

Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) was a founding member of the New York School and is regarded as one of the great artists, along with Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Clifford Still, whose gestural paintings of the 1950s formed the basis for the Abstract Expressionist movement in America. In the summer of 1952, Tworkov was invited to teach painting at Black Mountain College.

By 1952, Tworkov had gained recognition as one of the most masterful artists of his generation. At the same time, his reputation as a teacher and mentor was also on the rise. Tworkov was a powerful intellectual, and believed in being open to all forms of inspiration and expression. His interdisciplinary attitude and his balanced exchange of ideas made it possible for him to form lasting relationships with composers John Cage, Morton Feldman, Stefan Wolpe, choreographer Merce Cunningham and fellow painters William de Kooning, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, and the young Robert Rauschenberg to name a few.

The title, Accident of Choice, refers to the experimental nature inherent in all forms of expression - painting, sculpture, dance, film, drama. Decisions (whether conscious or unconscious) are intrinsic to the process of creating. Inherent in those choices are accidents - the spontaneous slide of the brush or the unexpected weight change when creating a dance. These choices confirm the will of the artist. It was the exploitation of such unexpected moments that this generation of artists that came into prominence in the 1940s and 50s were open to, and these artists, composers and writers became associated with the New York School. The title also lends insight to Tworkov’s philosophy to balance the spontaneous and automatic with the conscious and the planned.

Accident of Choice features work by Tworkov spanning the time period of 1948-1952 with a particular focus on a single series of paintings that began from a sketch made at Black Mountain College. The artist titled the series House of the Sun. Various examples of the series, which, as a subject the artist describes he did not choose, “but he came to know” derived from a series of paintings inspired by the theme of Odyssey. Important paintings and drawings from the series are included.

The focus of the exhibition quickly broadens beyond the artist’s process to include his interactions and friendships with other artists of the time who together embraced the overall experimental nature that was Black Mountain College.

Jason Andrew is an independent curator, producer, and archivist. A prominent figure in the Bushwick art scene, Andrew is the founding director of Norte Maar, which encourages, promotes and supports collaborations in the arts and whose mission is to create, promote and present collaborations within the disciplines of visual, literary, and the performing arts. His imaginative projects include exhibitions of visual art and unique performances of dance. Andrew is also the co-owner / co-director of Storefront Gallery in Bushwick. The gallery has been critically reviewed in The New York Times and Art in America.

Guarding against special interests in any particular style or genre, his curatorial projects bridge gaps left in art history and reflect the creative imagination of the past, present and future. Recent curatorial projects include the retrospective exhibition Jack Tworkov: Against Extremes / Five Decades of Painting (2009); Jack Tworkov: Accident of Choice, the artist at Black Mountain College (2011).

Andrew was recently sited by L Magazine as one of the important people making the new Brooklyn.

A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition including an essay by the exhibition curator, Jason Andrew; a never-before printed interview with Jack Tworkov conducted by the historian Irving Sandler in 1957; and a re-print of the article Tworkov Paints A Picture written by Fairfield Porter and published in Art News in 1953.

Exhibition curator Jason Andrew will give a special lecture about Jack Tworkov on Saturday, June 18, 2011, beginning at 11am. Admission is free.

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) preserves and continues the unique legacy of educational and artistic innovation of Black Mountain College. 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 Alice Sebrell at 828/350-8484 or visit (

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