Josef and Anni and Ruth and Ray
David Zwirner is pleased to present Josef and Anni and Ruth and Ray as the inaugural exhibition at the gallery's 34 East 69th Street location. Featuring work by Josef Albers, Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, and Ray Johnson—all of whom were at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in the late 1940s—this exhibition will explore both the aesthetic and personal dialogue between these artists during their Black Mountain years and beyond; and will include a number of works exchanged amongst the group, in addition to a selection of key compositions influenced by their time there.
Josef and Anni Albers arrived at Black Mountain College in 1933, both having studied and subsequently taught at the Bauhaus for nearly a decade. It was through the Alberses that the pedagogy of the famed German art school, which espoused ideals of radical experimentation and an open interchange of ideas, was imported and adapted in their new setting. As Asawa recalls, Josef Albers would open his Basic Design course by saying, "Open your eyes and see. My aim is to make you see more than you want to. I am here to destroy all your prejudices. If you already have a style don't bring it with you. It will only be in the way"—in essence paraphrasing the aesthetic philosophy that came to define Black Mountain College as a progressive and avant-garde institution in those years. Johnson arrived as student in 1945, and Asawa subsequently in 1946—both quickly availing themselves of the Alberses's guidance, which was particularly unexpected in the case of Johnson, whose nontraditional approach contrasted with the older artists' formal rigor.
Join Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation for a guided tour of the exhibition on Saturday, October 28, 11 AM
RSVP to Hannah Chinn at [email protected]
For more information about available works contact [email protected]
Featuring archival photography and interviews with former students, teachers, and historians, Fully Awake: Black Mountain College (2008) is a documentary film by Cathryn Davis Zommer and Neeley Dawson exploring the development of a unique experiment in arts education. With a radical approach to creative learning espoused by Josef and Anni Albers, Black Mountain College provided a formative environment for its students, among them Ruth Asawa and Ray Johnson.
Josef Albers teaching, Black Mountain College, c. 1948. Photographer unknown. Courtesy The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
Anni Albers: Notebook 1972–1980 is a facsimile of the only known notebook compiled by the artist. This previously unpublished document follows Albers's progression as a draftsman and includes intricate drawings related to her large body of graphic work, as well as studies for the late knot drawings. With an afterword by Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. Forthcoming from David Zwirner Books