Groundworks symbol

Black Mountain College: A Thumbnail Sketch

Written and directed by Monty Diamond



Echoing the “Groundworks” timeline: 1933


Black Mountain College began in 1933 and comprised a fascinating chapter in the history of education and the arts, serving as a precursor to future ideological and expressionist ideals that unfolded into their own movements. John A. Rice, who left Rollins College in a storm of controversy, formed Black Mountain College out of a desire to create a new type of discourse based on John Dewey's progressive education principles. The events that precipitated the college's founding coincided with Adolf Hitler's rise, the closing of the Bauhaus school in Germany, and escalating persecution of artists and intellectuals in Europe. Black Mountain College attracted catalysing figures in the arts, some of whom became extremely influential in the latter half of the 20th century, such as Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef and Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa and Buckminster Fuller to name a few. Decades after its closing in 1957, the influence of Black Mountain College continues to reverberate.

Intro image: video still from “Black Mountain College: A Thumbnail Sketch”, written and directed by Monty Diamond, 1989. 





“Black Mountain College: A Thumbnail Sketch” 

Written and directed by Monty Diamond, 1989 

Produced by Monty Diamond and South Carolina ETV



“maat Explorations” is an ongoing programme that delves into the socio-cultural and environmental transformations concerning the current bio crisis and ecological destruction, providing insight into the hard science of climate intervention and the creative speculations behind innovation-led research to safeguard our planetary co-existence. 

Prominent in this strand is the installation Earth Bits – Sensing the Planetary, that opens access to the complex interconnectedness between the environmental and the energetic quests and its reverberation through decades of artistic production, political and cultural movements traced from the 1960s until today.  

On maat ext. these will resonate recurrently through a collection of contents relating to or extracted from "Groundworks", an ongoing research that will result in a physical installation to be revealed in the museum in 2022.