Asheville was painted when de Kooning was a teacher at Black Mountain College in rural North Carolina. Find images of the landscape around the town of Asheville and compare it to de Kooning’s painting. Do you think he was inspired by the landscape of North Carolina?
De Kooning said Asheville was painted from “a glimpse of something, encountered like a flash.” Make a drawing or painting based on only a glimpse of a landscape that you see in a photograph or movie.
De Kooning was an academically trained artist whose technique included scraping fresh paint off canvases, such as Asheville. Try making a painting and then scraping off the surface with a palette knife. Do the results make your painting appear more abstract?
Asheville is an abstract work that includes several organic lines. Define “organic line.” Do all the lines connect or are there several unconnected ones?
What are some of the geometric shapes you can locate in de Kooning’s work?
Abstract expressionism occurred the same time as Beat poetry and other modernist literary movements in the 1950s. Research Beat poets and authors such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and write a poem in that style. You could use Asheville as a starting point, for inspiration.
LANGUAGE ARTS/SOCIAL STUDIES
Black Mountain College in North Carolina was an artist’s colony, where artists like Willem de Kooning, and writers, musicians, and other leaders in the arts taught classes and worked together in a rural setting. Research and write a report on the long tradition of artists and other creative thinkers from urban cities working in communities such as Black Mountain. Why would these centers be located in rural areas?