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For a scrappy, short-lived little college founded at a Christian summer camp by an outcast professor, Black Mountain College had a mighty impact on American cultural life. Among the artists who taught and studied there: Josef and Anni Albers, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham.

“Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957” opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art on Oct. 10.

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Dan Byers is leaving as curator of modern and contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art to join the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston as senior curator.

Mr. Byers co-curated the 2013 Carnegie International and organized “Ragnar Kjartansson: Song,” which was on view at the ICA in Boston from December 2012 to April 2013.

He led the department of contemporary and modern art at the Carnegie beginning in 2009, and was appointed the Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2012.

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Welcome to the plush world of fiber sculptures, all knit, woven and crocheted from wool, rope, linen, the works.

"Everything's ready-made materials, you know, a lot of it is really over-the-counter materials," fiber artist Sheila Pepe said.

In a new show at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, fiber hangs or cascades from the ceiling, flops on the floor and dangles down the elevator shaft.

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The Institute of Contemporary Art has completed a $50 million fund-raising campaign meant to boost its endowment, pay off a small amount of debt from the construction of its building, and support its operating budget over the next five years.

The campaign’s completion, announced to the museum’s trustees on Wednesday, marks an important step in the ICA’s effort to create more year-to-year stability. The museum’s endowment will increase from just under $10 million to $25 million. That’s still small for an institution that has a $13 million annual budget and has had around 200,000 people a year visit the Fan Pier building it opened in 2006.

“The old ICA really had no endowment,” said board president Chuck Brizius. “I think everybody knew this is where we were headed. Now that we’ve done this as a first step, we’re getting ourselves in a better position.”

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The Museum of Contemporary Art took the next step in rebuilding its staff and programming, appointing Helen Molesworth of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston as its new chief curator.

A scholar, art writer and curator, Molesworth has been at ICA/Boston since 2010. Before that she headed the department of modern and contemporary art at the Harvard Art Museum and served as the museum's Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art.

She will start Sept. 1.

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Thomas M. Messer, the longtime director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, passed away on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at his home in Manhattan. Messer served as the institution’s director from 1961 to 1988 when he retired. Messer also served as the director of the Guggenheim Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, from 1980 to 1988.

During his time at the Guggenheim, Messer helped to establish the museum as of one of the finest art institutions in the world. In doing so, he grew its collection, increased its exhibitions program, improved its publications, and helped it to become a global entity.

Messer vastly expanded the Guggenheim’s holdings by acquiring two major private collections. In 1963, Justin K. Thanhauser, the son of a German art dealer, gave the museum a trove of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early modern works including over 30 Picassos. The second bequest came from Peggy Guggenheim who left her entire collection including an array of Cubist, Surrealist, and Abstract Expressionist works to the Guggenheim Foundation. The collection operates as a museum known as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  

Born in Eastern Europe in 1920, Messer arrived in the United States in 1939. He graduated from Boston University in 1942, joined the army, and served as an interrogator for military intelligence in Europe. After the war, he stayed in Europe and studied art at the Sorbonne. Upon his return back to the United States, Messer was named director of a small museum in New Mexico. He eventually earned a master’s degree in art history from Harvard and was soon appointed director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

While he has no surviving family, Messer leaves behind a legacy of diplomatic leadership as well as one of the finest art institutions in the world.

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