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Leap Before You Look

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    A new exhibition Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art is showcasing painting, weaving, sculpture, and music while changing people's perceptions of what an art museum can be. (Published Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015)

    A new exhibition in New England is showcasing painting, weaving, sculpture, and music while changing people's perceptions of what an art museum can be.

    The crowds are already turning out for Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933 to 1957. It's the latest exhibition at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art.

    "Black Mountain College is so often a touchstone and it sort of has this mythic status," said Ruth Erickson, assistant curator of the exhibition, which is four years in the making.

    The galleries highlight the work of nearly 100 artists connected to Black Mountain College, an experimental school in North Carolina that's had a lasting impact on artistic practice and education.

    "In the morning, a student could study weaving. In the afternoon, they might work on the farm. And in the evening, they might write poetry or study painting," Erickson said. "I think that non-hierarchy between the arts led to a lot of interdisciplinary work."

    Using large-scale photographs, jewelry, textiles, and collage, the exhibit paints a picture of a school that encouraged "learning through doing."

    Some highlights of the exhibition include jewelry created by Anni Albers and student Alexander Reed using paper clips and bobbie pins. Visitors can also view Willem de Kooning's famed painting "Asheville" as well as the exposed blueprint paper "Female Figure" by Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil.

    Enhancing the exhibit experience are dance and music.

    "You don't expect to see live dance, you don't expect a soundtrack for the show or a grand piano in the space," Erickson said.

    Those live performances in the gallery feature work by choreographers and composers who taught at Black Mountain College.

    Leap Before You Look is on view at the ICA until January 24. For more information, click here.