Opening of an experimental school on Black Mountain Campus

A new experimental school has recently been set up on Black Mountain Campus, inspired by the famous Black Mountain College founded in 1933 by John A. Rice, whose alumni include major artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Called the “Black Mountain School”, the initiative has been born thanks to Chelsea Ragan and Adam Void, two artists in Northern Carolina. Its team includes John and Charlie Ahearn as well as Sara Bright. The founders of the new school promote a return to the values of the Black Mountain College, considering that today’s tuition fees are too high in most art schools, that teaching is guided by a search for profit, and that programmes lack diversification. The Black Mountain School is scheduling two summer sessions with 22 classes over a two-week period. Some of the themes that will be covered include “How Hip-Hop Transformed Contemporary Art”, “Conceptual Art and Espionage Bootcamp”, “Racial and Queer Imaginaries”, “Finding Fungi” and “Contemporary Fresco...

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London’s Royal College of Art named best in the world

According to the 2015 QS World University Rankings, London’s Royal College of Art is the best art school in the world. The institution came top in the art and design ranking of the world’s universities, with a score of 96. The ranking works by rating each university according to “academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact”. The other institutions in the top ten are: Parsons The New School for Design; Rhode Island School of Design; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Pratt Institute; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; California Institute of the Arts; University of the Arts London; Art Center College of Design; and Glasgow School of Art. The director of the RCA, which was founded in 1873, commented: “We are delighted to be recognized as the top university for Art and Design internationally […] The RCA is highly selective, taking the world’s most talented artists and designers. Those students go on to transform the world—in fine art, fashion, automotive design, and...

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Strike at the École Spéciale d’Architecture

Since 13 April 2015, students at the École Spéciale d’Architecture (ESA), in Paris’ 15th arrondissement have been expressing their discontent through a strike, hosting a sit-in in the courtyard. After nine employees were fired on 9 April, students striked in protest against the school authorities, supported by their slogan “Démission direction” (Resignation for the directors). One of those on strike explained “Our demands are simple: that the directors step down, having failed at communication for the last year, and that they put a stop to the severance procedures taking place against nine administrative and teaching personal, which began last Thursday”. She then added, making known the general sentiment amongst her peers, that “We would like to believe that the financial situation of the school is difficult, but we wouldn’t be here if the attractiveness of ESA had stopped going down because of some teachers’ contracts not being renewed. These teachers make sure the standard of teaching is high, international, and varied.” In addition to these protests, a petition has been launched and has already gathered many signatures. CGT-Culture, the union representing the cultural sector, recently published a release entitled Marche au pas et tais-toi! C’est ça l’ESA! (Keep in line and shut up! This is ESA!) in which they harshly condemned the school’s management: “This violence reflects the ‘totalitarian’ way in which the chairmanship, the management and the board of directors try to control the teaching and the global aspect of this architecture...

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Florence Academy of Art opens a US branch

The Florence Academy of Art, famous for its teaching of Classical painting techniques, has opened a new branch at Mana Contemporary in New Jersey. 20 students will take either intensive workshops or the three-year course in Drawing and Painting, working in a 10,000 square-foot studio. “This new branch at Mana offers our students the opportunity to engage with the lively artistic community here, as well as the diverse cultural and creative influences of New York City. Through the broadening of our school, we are able to broaden the spectrum of our students’ education and their artistic vocabulary,” said the director of the campus, Jordan Sokol. Mama Contemporary is a collection of artist studios, exhibition spaces, and ancillary services in Jersey City; the students will benefit from the use of their extensive range of equipment, including a foundry, silkscreen studio, frame shop, and packing and shipping...

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Vkhutemas exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau

Until 6 April, the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Berlin is to host Germany’s first ever exhibition of works originating from the Vkhutemas school of art. Vkhutemas was an important art school of Modernism, founded by a decree of the Soviet government in 1920. The institution had thousands of students and the staff consisted of famous artists and architects who were associated with the Russian avant-garde, including El Lissitzky, Naum Gabo, and Gustav Klutsis. Their chief goal was to use art and architecture to make the “New Man”, and to radically change the relationship between art and society. Their influence reached beyond Soviet Russia, extending to Germany and Paris, where the students displayed their work at the “Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels moderns” in 1925. The school was closed down in 1930, and the Architectural Faculty was merged with the Higher Engineering and Architectural Institute, which then became the Moscow Architectural Institute. The Russian avant-garde was soon discarded to make way for Socialist Realism. The exhibition focuses on architecture; around 250 works are to be displayed including sketches, drawings, paintings and models by both staff and...

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