Interviews

An Unknown Chapter at America’s Bauhaus

A photo by Robert Rauschenberg of Jack Tworkov painting during his time at Black Mountain College, summer 1952. © Robert Rauschenberg / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) was a founding member of the New York School but he is less famous than many artists of his generation, which include Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock and Clifford Still. A painter who was constantly seeking to explore new things, he was also an important chronicler of the period and a critic who wrote many seminal texts that were collected into a book published in 2009, The Extreme of the Middle.

In the summer of 1952, Tworkov traveled to the influential Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. Founded in 1933 and continuing until 1957, the experimental school in the American South would develop into what many people have called an “American Bauhaus,” referring to the groundbreaking school in Weimar Germany that revolutionized design, architecture, art and life in the modern world.

Tworkov’s time at Black Mountain College is the subject of a new exhibition, Jack Tworkov: The Accident of Choice, which opens this Friday. Curator Jason Andrew, who was responsible for the Tworkov retrospective at New York’s UBS gallery in 2009 and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in 2010, has brought together photographs, sketch books, paintings and drawings to tell the story of a magic summer when Tworkov mixed and mingles with the other artistic giants of his time, including John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg.

The following is a Skype interview with Andrew about the show and what he discovered about Tworkov during this period.

Jack Tworkov: The Accident of Choice opens on June 17 at the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center (56 Broadway, Asheville, North Carolina) until September 17, 2011. An exhibition catalogue accompanies the show.

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