Exterior shot of Mint Museum Randolph

The Mint Museum re-opens to the public Friday, Feb. 5.

The Mint Museum re-opens to the public Friday, Feb. 5.

 

Charlotte, N.C. (February 1, 2021) — After being closed for three weeks to help curb the spread of Covid 19, both locations of The Mint Museum and its stores will re-open to the public on Friday, Feb. 5 with strict safety protocols in place.

All visitors are required to wear masks, and the museum will offer free masks for anyone who’d like to double up on coverage, per new CDC suggestions. Timed ticketing remains in place to ensure the museum stays within occupancy guidelines, and social-distancing signage is in place throughout the galleries.

“We decided to re-open for the benefit of people who adhere to our guidelines and need a safe place to experience art,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO of The Mint Museum. “We feel the museum has implemented protocols that create safety measures beyond what one finds in many businesses and public spaces.”

Additionally, the city of Charlotte — which owns both Mint buildings — has partnered with locally based Global Plasma Solutions to outfit the Mint with Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization to remove indoor air pollutants and help neutralize Covid-19. The air-purification system removes up to 99 percent of certain airborne viruses, mold, and bacteria, helping promote the health of employees and the visiting public. All precautionary measures and details about museum visitation are viewable on the Mint’s Know Before You Go site.

As a thank you to essential and frontline workers, The Mint Museum is offering complimentary admission to health care providers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, custodial staff, transit workers, grocery store and restaurant employees, and their immediate family members through June 30, 2021.

Both locations of the Mint will be free to the public on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28 for the closing of In Vivid Color: Pushing the Boundaries of Perception in Contemporary Art and the opening of W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine.

Those interested in viewing the Mint from the comfort of their home can still get their art fix on The Mint Museum from Home site, presented by Chase, which offers curator-led virtual gallery tours, create-at-home activities, community conversations and artist Q&As. The Mint’s first online exhibition, Expanding the Pantheon: Women R Beautiful is also available, featuring 26 striking photographs of New York City-based photographer Ruben Natal-San Miguel, who aims to introduce a new range of beauty for our consideration.

The Mint Museum Store also has a newly launched e-commerce site (store.mintmuseum.org), with shipping, curbside pick-up and free gift-wrap options available.

The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts —the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Contact:

Caroline Portillo, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at The Mint Museum
caroline.portillo@mintmuseum.org | 704.488.6874 (c)

Michele Huggins, Communications and Media Relations Project Manager at The Mint Museum
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org | 704.564.0826 (c)

 

Download the PDf of this press release here. 

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine explores the use of walls throughout centuries, across civilizations

Ami Vitale. Ripple Effect, 2009. Photographer @amivitale

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine explores the use of walls throughout centuries, across civilizations

Mint Museum Uptown’s 10-year anniversary celebration continues with opening of new photography exhibition

 

Charlotte, N.C. (February 1, 2021)— As a continued celebration of Mint Museum Uptown’s 10th anniversary, W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine examines the historic use and artistic treatment of barriers — whether made of stone, sand, steel, or wire — through photography. The exhibition, presented by PNC Bank, is scheduled to open Feb. 24 in Mint Museum Uptown’s Level 4 Brand Gallery.

Through more than 130 photographs taken by 67 photographers across five continents, W|ALLS explores architectural aspects of these barriers, as well as the stories of people’s lives touched by the boundaries.

The exhibition is divided into six sections — delineation, defense, deterrent, the divine, decoration, and the invisible — with each section anchored by a central photo essay. From the Berlin Wall’s fall to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, as well as barriers built in India, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland, and along the United States’ southern border, W|ALLS includes images that span five continents from photographers of all stripes: documentarians, photojournalists, artists, protestors, commercial photographers, explorers, and even a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

Carol Guzy. Albanian refugee camp, March 3, 1999. © 1999, Carol Guzy/The Washington Post

Curated by Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, chief curator and curator of contemporary art at The Mint Museum, W|ALLS includes works by nationally recognized artists Carol Guzy, Moises Saman, SHAN Wallace, Banksy, JR, John Moore, and Tanya Aguiñiga.

Charlotte-based artists featured in the exhibition include: Will Jenkins, who photographed Dammit Wesley’s Strange Fruit mural in uptown Charlotte; UncleJut who photographed Darion Fleming’s Pure’ll Gold mural that made The New York Times cover page in March 2020; and Linda Foard Roberts, a recent Guggenheim Fellowship recipient.

“When Katie Hollander and I began working on the W|ALLS exhibition in 2018, we could not have imagined a more divided world, and yet, even though the COVID-19 pandemic has united us in a common anxiety, here we are, even more segmented and antagonistic,” says Sudul Edwards. “The images in this exhibition remind us of our common humanity and why we are stronger together than apart, no matter what our race, ethnicity, or political ideology.”

In concert with the photographic exhibition, artists Candy Chang and James Reeves created Light the Barricades, interactive installations that appeared in three sites throughout Los Angeles before relocating to the plaza in front of the Annenberg Space for Photography. Light the Barricades was inspired by the I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese texts. Nearly 30 feet in length and 8 feet high, each installation features a word that represents an emotional barrier and offers an opportunity for contemplation. One of these walls will be on view in front of Mint Museum Uptown in conjunction with the photography exhibition.

“Walls make up a significant portion of our surroundings, especially in urban settings, and these photographers present us with new ways of thinking about how we are affected by these structures,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO of The Mint Museum. “It is impossible to walk through this exhibition and not have it inspire a conversation.”

This is the first exhibition at The Mint Museum with Spanish translations throughout. All object labels include a QR code to scan for a Spanish translation, and there are printed translations on introduction panels.

“With this exhibition, The Mint Museum continues to deliver on its unique ability to engage our community in timely, thought-provoking conversation and reflection,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. “The themes addressed in the photography hold relevance for all, and PNC is proud to help bring this compelling and ambitious exhibition to Charlotte.”

W|ALLS was originally scheduled to open in May 2020. Shipping crates containing much of the show — gifted to the Museum by Annenberg Space for Photography, which was the originator of the exhibit — were delayed due to COVID-19.

W|ALLS is made possible by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, Calif., and is generously presented by PNC Bank, and supporting sponsors The Mint Museum Auxiliary, Laura and Mike Grace, Leigh-Ann and Martin Sprock, Betsy Rosen and Liam Stokes, and Deidre and Clay Grubb. QC Exclusive is the media sponsor.

The Mint Museum

The Mint Museum Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.


PNC Bank

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.


The Annenberg Foundation

The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and
human services; and animal services and the environment.

Contact:

Caroline Portillo, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at The Mint Museum
caroline.portillo@mintmuseum.org | 704.488.6874 (c)

Michele Huggins, Communications and Media Relations Project Manager at The Mint Museum
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org | 704.564.0826 (c)

 

Download the PDF Media Kit for W|ALLS here.

Work by Gemma O’Brien

The Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture recognize frontline workers and their families by offering free admission

The facade of Mint Museum Uptown

The Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture recognize frontline workers and their families by offering free admission

Charlotte, NC — As a thank you to essential and frontline workers during the pandemic, The Mint Museum, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture are offering complimentary admission to health care providers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, custodial staff, transit workers, grocery store and restaurant employees, and their immediate family members through Dec. 31, 2020.

“Throughout the pandemic, frontline workers have helped to sustain health and well-being for our community. We want to recognize these efforts by offering an opportunity for these workers and their families to come and enjoy exploring art at our museums free of charge,” says Todd A. Herman, PhD, president and CEO at The Mint Museum.

Each museum has safety and capacity protocols in place to keep within COVID-19 guidelines. Visitors are encouraged to reserve tickets online in advance of their visit to support a low-touch environment. Tickets may be reserved on each of the museums’ websites. Walk-in visitors are welcome if space permits at that time. Guests are required to wear masks at each museum.  

“The Bechtler enthusiastically joins the Mint and the Gantt in supporting our frontline essential workers in the Charlotte community,” says Todd D. Smith, executive director at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. “We hope this move allows more people to enjoy the restorative powers of the visual arts and museums in this time of crisis.”

Work by Gemma O’Brien
Work by Gemma O’Brien

The Mint Museum also is recognizing frontline and essential workers with the digital installation Messages for the City displayed on the Wells Fargo screen along Levine Avenue of the Arts and on the Legacy Union screen at 620 S. Tryon St. Artist-made images and animations recognize and celebrate the commitment of these workers during the COVID pandemic. The images play continuously, as part of the general video displays on both screens. The project originated with Times Squares Arts in partnership with For Freedoms, Poster House, and PRINT magazine and was first shown in Times Square last spring.  

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our frontline workers for their selfless dedication during the pandemic. Being able to show our appreciation collectively as a museum community is the least that we can do in honor of their service,” says David Taylor, president and CEO of Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture.

For more information about safety protocols at each museum and hours, visit each museum website.

About The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street—the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Contact: Michele Huggins, media relations and communications project manager
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org, 704.564.0826

In Vivid Color: Pushing the Boundaries of Perception in Contemporary Art investigates the power of color on our everyday perceptions and shared experiences 

Jennifer Steinkamp, Daisy Bell, 2008. Video installation. Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer.

In Vivid Color: Pushing the Boundaries of Perception in Contemporary Art investigates the power of color on our everyday perceptions and shared experiences 

 

Charlotte, NC – Colors are linked to memories, experiences, and our environments. To celebrate the world of color and its effects on our perceived realities, The Mint Museum proudly presents In Vivid Color: Pushing the Boundaries of Perception in Contemporary Art. The exhibition is on view Oct. 16 at Mint Museum Uptown and features four innovative contemporary artists—Gisela Colon, Spencer Finch, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Summer Wheat. Installations in the exhibition are experiential by design, allowing each viewer to feel and engage with the works of art based on individual perceptions of color.

“We are so pleased to be able to share these powerful, engaging works of art with our visitors,” says Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD, senior curator of American art at The Mint Museum. “Not only do they demonstrate the wide range of innovative ways in which artists use color, but they also inspire us to reflect upon the many ways in which color infiltrates our memories, functions symbolically in our everyday lives, creates shared experiences, and sparks conversations and connections.”

Summer Wheat (American, 1977–). Foragers, 2020, colored vinyl on mylar, 805.5 x 738.5 inches. T0263.1a-qqqq. Photo credit: Chris Edwards

Visitors are first greeted by Summer Wheat’s monumental installation Foragers in the Robert Haywood Morrison atrium. The four story, 3,720-square-foot installation fills 96 window panels with vibrant hand-cut layered vinyl gel panels that combine to tell the story of women as makers and providers. The presentation bathes the space in jewel-tone colors and hues that shift with natural light, enveloping the visitor. Foragers was commissioned for the Mint and generously funded by Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artists Fund.

Located on Level 3 in the Gorelick Gallery, immersive installations Daisy Bell and Orbit 12 by pioneering digital artist Jennifer Steinkamp explore the symbolic power of color through video technology. Using repeated floral patterns and hyper-saturated colors, Daisy Bell, which is part of Bank of America’s corporate art collection, challenges viewers to rethink their relationship with the natural world. Orbit 12, a gift to the museum from the Mint Museum Auxiliary, guides viewers through four seasons in which leaves, branches, and blossoms constantly morph through cycles of growth, abundance, decay, and renewal.

Spencer Finch (American, 1962–). Sunset, South Texas (detail), 6/1/03, 2003, fluorescent lights, filters. Courtesy of the artist.

At nearly 40-feet wide, Spencer Finch’s Sunset (South Texas, 6/21/03), also on loan from Bank of America, recreates a sunset on the Texas plains with green, pink, blue, yellow and orange filters fitted over fluorescent lamps. The horizontal stretch of the piece mimics the vastness of the plains and allows viewers to settle into the distance of space and color. Gisela Colon’s Hyper Ellipsoid pushes the boundaries of materials and sculptural form. Her objects, self-described as organic minimalism, use suspended pigments in acrylic to create forms that seem to shape-shift with light and motion.

The exhibition also includes 11 paintings and works on paper by artists Jennifer Bartlett, Annette Cone-Skelton, Peter Halley, Juan Logan, Harvey Quaytman, T.J. Reddy, Brian Rutenberg, Julian Stanczak, and Donald Sultan from the Mint’s permanent collection. In addition, local artist Juan Logan has loaned a painting from his Elegy series. Visitors can also play with color and light in the color shadow experience just inside the gallery.

In Vivid Color is presented by Wells Fargo Private Bank, with additional support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary, Bank of America Collection, and the GAVLAK Gallery. In Vivid Color also benefits from a media partnership with Peachy the Magazine.

About The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street—the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Contact: Michele Huggins, Communications and Media Relations Project Manager michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org, 704.564.0826

The Mint Museum’s new four-story window installation Foragers offers a transcendent experience while celebrating the female workers and makers that helped shape NC

Summer Wheat (American, 1977–). Foragers, 2020, colored vinyl on mylar, 805.5 x 738.5 inches. T0263.1a-qqqq. Photo credit: Chris Edwards

The Mint Museum’s new four-story installation Foragers offers a transcendent experience while celebrating the tradition of women as makers and providers

 

September 10, 2020, Charlotte, NC — Unlike anything ever seen at The Mint Museum before, Brooklyn-based artist Summer Wheat’s Foragers is a monumental piece of public work of art spanning 96 windows, four stories, and 3,720 square feet at Mint Museum Uptown’s Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium. The myriad of vibrant panels that give the illusion of stained glass and celebrates the tradition of women as makers and providers.

“In so many ways, Foragers is a monumental tribute to all those anonymous female makers and laborers who have made North Carolina the place that it is today: the Catawba clay workers, the Cherokee basket makers, the enslaved and freed African-American fishers and farmers, the countless woodworkers, weavers, and quilters,” says Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, the Mint’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art.

Summer Wheat (American, 1977–). Foragers, 2020, colored vinyl on mylar, 805.5 x 738.5 inches. T0263.1a-qqqq. Photo credit: Chris Edwards

Foragers is part of a larger exhibition In Vivid Color that opens Oct. 16 at Mint Museum Uptown. In Vivid Color brings together four innovative contemporary artists—Wheat, Gisela Colon, Spencer Finch, and Jennifer Steinkamp—who create works celebrating the power of color and its ability to permeate the space around us. Their work is juxtaposed with a selection of paintings and works on paper, drawn primarily from The Mint Museum’s permanent collection, which showcase artists’ more traditional exploration of color.

The magnitude and brilliance of Foragers turns the typical museum experience on its head and creates a transcendent space of contemplation and beauty at a time when a weary public craves an escape—and a spacious, social-distancing-friendly one at that. While standard admission rates apply to the museum’s Level 3 and Level 4 galleries, access to Mint Museum Uptown’s atrium and the Foragers installation is free.

“This gorgeous work will transform Mint Museum Uptown’s atrium space with color and light, making it a must-see destination in Charlotte,” says Todd A. Herman, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Mint Museum.

Summer Wheat (American, 1977–). Foragers, 2020, colored vinyl on mylar, 805.5 x 738.5 inches. T0263.1a-qqqq. Photo credit: Chris Edwards

Summer Wheat’s installation was commissioned by The Mint Museum. The installation and purchase of Foragers was funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artists Fund, which aims to address and rebalance gender representation in museum collections.

“The Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artists Fund is designed to address and help reconcile the imbalance of female representation in museum collections,” says Jay Everette, Wells Fargo’s senior vice president of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility.

“Just 11 percent of all acquisitions and 14 percent of exhibitions at 26 prominent American museums over the past decade were of work by female artists. According to a joint investigation by In Other Words and artnet News, a total of 260,470 works have entered museums’ permanent collections since 2008. Only 29,247 were by women.”

Foragers celebrates North Carolina’s creativity and industry—those named and anonymous.

Foragers presents a tradition in which women were the original hunters, technologists, and artists,” Wheat says. “This array of women connected by geometric patterns echoes the psychological space of women supporting each other. They are marching together connecting to creatures from land and water, demonstrating their inherent link to natural elements and to the intricate depths of the unconscious.”

About Summer Wheat

Contemporary artist Summer Wheat (b. 1977, Oklahoma City, Okla.) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York City. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. She is known for being an innovator, constantly blurring boundaries between traditional art forms and mediums. Consider the way she pushes acrylic paint through fine wire mesh to create large-scale paintings, like her With Side, With Shoulder, part of the Mint’s permanent collection and on view in the Mint’s new exhibition New Days, New Works.

Wheat has had solo exhibitions with lauded institutions, galleries and museums across the nation, including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City (2020); KMAC Museum, Louisville (2019); Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles (2018); Smack Mellon, New York (2018); Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2017); and Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City (2016).

Wheat will also have her first solo exhibition with SOCO Gallery in Charlotte—entitled Lather, Rinse, Repeat—September 16 through November 6, 2020. The exhibition will feature ve large-scale paintings and two “pebble seats” focusing on the theme of bathing and grooming. The theme, drawn on throughout art history, frequently depicts idyllic figures and scenery, but in Wheat’s work, the women portrayed are imperfect and defy traditional notions of beauty. Wheat will have a solo exhibition with Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles in 2021.

Additional museum exhibitions include Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2013–14); deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (2013); and Torrance Art Museum (2013). Wheat received the 2016 New York NADA Artadia Award and the 2019 Northern Trust Purchase Prize at EXPO Chicago. Wheat’s work is in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Peréz Art Museum Miami; The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, Seattle; The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

About The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street—the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Contact: Michele Huggins, Communications and Media Relations Project Manager michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org, 704.564.0826

Download PDF version of this press release here.

Images: Summer Wheat (American, 1977–). Foragers, 2020, colored vinyl on mylar, 805.5 x 738.5 inches. T0263.1a-qqqq. Photo credit: Chris Edwards

The Mint Museum presents new and never-before-seen objects from its collection in the exhibition New Days, New Works

The Mint Museum presents new and never-before-seen objects from its collection in the exhibition New Days, New Works

 

Charlotte, N.C. When The Mint Museum is once again able to open its doors, we welcome visitors to experience a dynamic exhibition New Days, New Works that features more than 80 works of art from the Mint’s permanent collection. Many of the works of art were recently acquired or have never been on view at the Mint before.

The exhibition, on view through January 3, 2021 in the Level 4 Brand Galleries at Mint Museum Uptown, is a collaboration between all of the Mint’s curators, featuring works from the American, contemporary, craft, design and fashion and decorative arts collections. New Days, New Works is a striking juxtaposition of color, material, time and place, and the exhibition design showcases the broad diversity of pieces that define the Mint.

Carolyn DeMeritt (American, 1946–). Tired, 2017/2020, archival pigment photograph on archival paper.

Mere feet from African textiles made from bark by Bakuba weavers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a sprawling abstract sofa by Brazilian brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana. A stunning collection of 19th-century British ceramics are installed around the corner from a striking suite of black-and-white photographs from a collaboration between artists Carolyn DeMeritt and Pinky/MM Bass. And Pilar Albarracín’s Ceilings for Offerings, a large-scale installation made up of hundreds of colorful flamenco dresses, echoes the bright hues of Brooklyn-based artist Summer Wheat’s contemporary acrylic painting With Side With Shoulder that greets guests upon entering the exhibition.

“A harmony, not dissonance, resonates amongst all these disparate and different objects, and that speaks to the commonality we all have as human beings,” says Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, the Mint’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art. “No matter the human condition, people want to find a way to live their best life, with beauty and security, and no matter the technological innovations we may invent, human beings are always intrinsically tethered to the natural world.”

Summer Wheat (American, 1977–). With Side With Shoulder, 2019, acrylic on aluminum mesh.

Each object in New Days, New Works celebrates the relationships with individual donors, corporations, foundations and support groups that are all part of The Mint Museum community.

New Days, New Works is an opportunity for us to show some of the new works that have come into the collection in the last few years, as well as to highlight those donors who have generously shared their treasures with the Charlotte community by donating them to the Mint,” says Todd A Herman, PhD, President and CEO of The Mint Museum. “The work is diverse and demonstrates the many areas of interest among our supporters. We also hope that by reading about the various collectors, it will inspire others to begin their own collections, which can start at a wide range of price points, styles and materials.”

About The Mint Museum

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations—Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street—the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

The Mint Museum plans to re-open to public for free weekend Sept. 25-27

The Mint Museum plans to re-open to public for free weekend Sept. 25-27

September 1, 2020, Charlotte, N.C.— In light of Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision to allow museums to re-open at 50 percent capacity in Phase 2.5, The Mint Museum is thrilled to announce it plans to welcome the public back with a free weekend and celebration, presented by Chase, at both museum locations the weekend of Sept. 25-27. (Mint members will be able to return beginning Tuesday, Sept. 22.) A strategic planning team has been working for months on re-opening plans and precautions. The museum is excited to open its doors again with a host of exciting new exhibitions and installations to share.

The Mint is also talking with several other museums in the city to possibly coordinate re-opening events.

“This is the great news we’ve been waiting for over the last five-and-a-half months,” says Mint President and CEO Todd A. Herman, PhD. “We appreciate the governor’s recognizing the special place museums hold in the community.”

To create a safe environment for staff and guests, all visitors will be required to wear masks, and we have implemented safety protocols that align with CDC directives. There will be timed-ticketing to ensure we stay within the occupancy guidelines, and we have social-distancing signage in place to guide guest through the galleries. The Lewis Family Gallery remains closed to the public due to the many touch points in the space. To make the signage noticeable and tie back to our collection, we used the iconic Queen Charlotte painting by Allan Ramsay, on view at Mint Museum Randolph, to inform our signage. Guests will even see a life-size cardboard cut-out of Ramsay’s Queen Charlotte, wearing a mask and holding a 6-foot-tall scepter that serves as a ruler to demonstrate social distancing.

Guests to The Mint Museum will be met with new exhibitions and installations, including:

  • Foragers by Brooklyn-based artist Summer Wheat: This monumental four-story “stained glass” work of art will cover all 96 windows of Mint Museum Uptown’s Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium. Foragers is a tribute to all of the female makers and laborers who helped make Charlotte the thriving metropolis it is today. Foragers is generously sponsored by the Wells Fargo Women Artists Fund. It will be on view when the museum re-opens.
  • New Days, New Works: The exhibition showcases 80 works of art from the Mint’s permanent collection, many of which have never been on view before. New Days, New Works is a striking juxtaposition of color, material, time and place—from a suite of black-and-white photographs done in collaboration by artists Carolyn DeMeritt and Pinky/MM Bass to artist Pilar Albarracín’s Ceiling for Offerings, a work made up of hundreds of colorful flamenco dresses that hang from the ceiling.
de’Angelo Dia (American, 1976–). Betty, 2020, chalk on paper. Courtesy of the artist. e’Angelo Dia (American, 1976–). Charlie, 2020, chalk on paper. Courtesy of the artist.
  • Local artist de’Angelo Dia is the latest Constellation CLT artist, whose work is on view in the public spaces of Mint Museum Uptown. His works portray characters with bold expressions and elements that explore African-American culture and the hybrid culture of the African diaspora.

Classic Black: The Basalt Sculpture of Wedgwood and His Contemporaries, on view at Mint Museum Randolph, has been extended through January 3, 2021. The exhibition features 100 black basalt sculptures made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late 18th-century England, and is set against the distinctive linework and colorful gallery walls painted by local mural artist Owl. 

 

Museum tickets will be available for purchase through our website, as well as iinformation on safety protocols. We encourage guests to purchase online, though in-person ticketing is still available.

Contact: Michele Huggins
Media relations and communications project manager
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org, 704-564-0826 (c)

The Mint Museum celebrates the life of Dr. Francis Robicsek, a pioneering heart surgeon, art collector and Renaissance man

The Mint Museum celebrates the life of Dr. Francis Robicsek, a pioneering heart surgeon, art collector and Renaissance man

It is with heavy—yet grateful—hearts that The Mint Museum recognizes and celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Francis Robicsek, who passed away peacefully at his Charlotte home on April 3, at the age of 94.

Robicsek was best known for being a world-renowned heart surgeon who performed some of Charlotte’s first open-heart operations. Over his 64-year career, he performed the city’s first heart transplant, founded the Sanger Clinic (now Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute), and was known for his steady hand — and improvisation — in some extraordinary situations. (Consider this: On New Year’s Eve in 1964, when a fellow doctor’s heart stopped on a hospital elevator, Robicsek proceeded to cut the man’s chest open with suture scissors, massage the heart, and then shock it back into rhythm with the cord from a table lamp.)

But the doctor who fled Soviet control in his native country of Hungary in 1956 with his six-months-pregnant wife, Lilly, was also a student of the world. Robicsek saw beauty in the old and was an avid art collector who generously helped establish, grow and develop the Mint’s pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, and European painting collections. Many of the works of art are on display in Mint Museum Randolph’s Lilly and Francis Robicsek Galleries.

“I only had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Robicsek once, but he was a figure who had an aura of well-deserved respect, almost reverence,” says Mint President and CEO Todd. A Herman, PhD. “And if you paid attention, he had a sense of humor that those willing to see past the aura would appreciate—with a twinkle in his eye and a slight rise to the edges of his mouth.”

Robicsek became interested in archaeology in the 1960s. “I have never enjoyed a vacation where you just go and sit around, and I have never enjoyed walking around a golf course,” Robicsek wrote in the 2008 book Pioneers of Cardiac Surgery, by Dr. William S. Stoney. “I have always needed an excuse or a reason for going from A to B.”

So it was auspicious when Robicsek saw an ad in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery for a hospital in Honduras that needed a surgeon with experience in tuberculosis surgery. Robicsek began spending summer vacations there. And when the hospital could only handle one thoracotomy per day, he spent his downtime “prowling around the ruins.”

For decades, Robicsek worked to expand healthcare facilities and operations in Central American countries, including Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize and El Salvador. He helped build pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and he raised money to take pieces of equipment deemed obsolete by U.S. standards and have them refurbished and shipped to Central America, where he’d also train staff how to use them. Then, whenever possible, Robicsek would change out of his scrubs, pull out his camera, and go exploring.

Of course, he couldn’t have done it without Lilly. A medical doctor herself—she did two residencies in pathology and pediatrics—Lilly retired from medicine to help raise the four children and afford her husband the opportunity to work, study and travel around the world, often with Lilly by his side.

Dorie Reents-Budet, PhD—a former visiting curator for native art of the Americas at the Mint—spent years working with Robicsek and exploring his vast collection. But they first met in 1982 when Robicsek attended the Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop at the University of Texas at Austin. Reents-Budet was a graduate student at the time and was helping put on the workshop

The crowd was an insular group of art history and anthropology scholars from the U.S. and Canada. Reents-Budet, eager to make sure all attendees felt welcome, offered to drive Robicsek to all of the after-hours workshop cocktail parties, to introduce him to her professors. “It was memorable getting him to fold up those long legs so he could fit in my 1967 Nova,” she says.

Robicsek authored five books on Mayan culture and art, and just as he was a pioneer in the medical field, he was also an early adopter in the field of art history. He was publishing books on pre-Columbian art long before the National Gallery of Art even recognized it as art and not just a facet of anthropology, says Reents-Budet.

To Robicsek, she adds, these works were equally as poignant as any Grecian ceramic, Egyptian artifact, or Renaissance painting.

Michael Tarwater, formerly the president and CEO of Carolinas Healthcare System, first met Robicsek in June 1981. Tarwater was a vice president at the time and part of his purview included overseeing the hospital’s cath lab, where doctors studied the heart. He and Robicsek became fast friends, and for a period of about 15 years, Tarwater and his wife, Ann, would travel the world with Robicsek and Lilly—from Romania, where the ancient monasteries are painted with exquisite Biblical scenes, to Antigua, Guatemala, home of the world’s largest Easter celebration.

“To the very end, he had this beautiful youthful curiosity about life that you just wanted to tap into,” says Ann Tarwater, one of the Mint’s Board of Trustees. “He wanted to show you the world.”

That sense of curiosity didn’t wane after Robicsek retired in 1998. If anything, it picked up. “He was an inventor, an innovator, a scientist, a scholar, a humanitarian,” says Michael Tarwater. “And,” he added, “a prankster.”

In the mid-1980s, Carolinas Medical Center experienced a few power failures, which always caused a scramble, Tarwater said. A few days after one, the hospital administration announced to staff that they’d found the problem and resolved it. Afterward, Robicsek stopped by Tarwater’s office for a quick chat.

Minutes after Robicsek left, Tarwater saw the power go out yet again. “The first thing you think about are all the people in the operating room, all the things we rely on, all the people on ventilators,” he said.

Frantic, Tarwater raced out of his office. That’s when he realized that the power outage was isolated. The mischievous Robicsek had found the circuit breaker for just the administrative offices and flipped the switch.

Francis and Lilly Robicsek took every opportunity to travel with their children—Steven, Susanne, John and Frances—and later with their five grandchildren. They instilled a love of art, music and culture in all of them.

Robicsek’s daughter Frances Furr, the youngest of the four children, studied art history in college and went on to be an art teacher, a member of the Delhom Service League, and a docent at the Mint.

Furr recalls the time when, as a lover of North Carolina ceramics, she took her father to Seagrove to view the pottery. “In that thick Hungarian accent, he said, ‘There aren’t any cracks in it. I don’t like it,’” Furr recalls, laughing.

He later recanted, she says, but his premise remained: There was beauty and value in old things. Whether traveling the world with family and friends or simply browsing a flea market or art gallery with his children, Robicsek espoused the power of learning about the past, of finding beauty in artifacts.

Two weeks before her wedding day, 27 years ago, Robicsek took Furr to the jungles of Mexico, where he was on a mission to photograph Mayan ruins. There were no hot showers, they slept in hammocks, and she remembers looking out the back of a truck and realizing they weren’t on a road. But then they arrived at the most amazing old mounds in the middle of nowhere.

“I love how he taught me to see life through the lens of culture and art,” says Furr. “And that I’m very grateful for.”

We at the Mint are also grateful to Robicsek and his family for sharing the life and legacy of the remarkable doctor, buried in his scrubs, who saved lives and championed art in equal measure.

Sincerely,

Todd A. Herman, PhD
President & CEO

Remembering Dr. David C. Driskell, a pioneering artist and scholar

 

The Mint remembers Dr. David C. Driskell, a pioneering artist and scholar

We are losing many great minds and kind hearts in these spring months and while we may not be able to recognize all, we will try to celebrate the lives of artists, collectors and patrons who have had direct impact on the museum and our community. One such man of national and international acclaim is artist and scholar Dr. David C. Driskell, who passed away of coronavirus on April 1, 2020 in Washington D.C. at the age of 88. His touring exhibition Narratives of African American Art and Identity was on view at The Mint Museum in 2002.

Driskell was born on June 7, 1931 in Eatonton, Ga. His paternal Gullah lineage was from the Georgia Sea Islands. His family moved to Hollis in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina when he was a child. His parents were both  “makers”—his father, a blacksmith and Baptist preacher; his mother, a basket weaver and quilter. Educated in a small segregated school house, his teachers recognized his intellect and passion for art and encouraged him to attend college.  He tells the story, with great humor, of traveling to Washington, D.C.,  enthusiastically arriving at Howard University totally unaware of admission procedures, determined to “attend” college.  He sat in on classes until someone helped him officially enroll. His passion, his determination to learn, create, and teach never faulted.

Like his parents, Dr. Driskell also remained a maker. A figurative painter, his work had the loose brushwork and bold colors of the abstract expressionist painters who dominated the galleries in his youth. He became nationally recognized and lauded as early as 1956 with his modern day Pietà, Behold Thy Son, a memorial for the brutally murdered Emmett Till. The painting now hangs near Dr. Driskell’s Washington D.C. home, at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Covid-19 virus abruptly ended his life; however, his legacy—his indelible contribution to the canon of American art history—will live on through his art and through his many publications, scholarly dissertations, lectures, and the generations of art historians that he spawned.

Driskell modeled himself after his mentor, Dr. James A. Porter, who established the art department at Howard University and pioneered the field of African American Art History. As heir to Porter’s groundbreaking work in the field, Driskell pursued his study, achieving his Bachelor of Arts from Howard University in 1955 and an MFA from Catholic University in 1962. He also studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1953 and Art History at The Hague, Netherlands in 1964.

Driskell remained an important teacher as well as scholar. He taught at Talladega College in Alabama, Howard University, Fiske University in Tennessee, Bowdoin College in Maine, the University of Michigan, Queens College, and Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, before joining the faculty of the Department of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1977. He remained affiliated with the school through his retirement in 1998. In 2001, the school established the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora. The school reflects its namesake: Terry Gips, Director of The Art Gallery University of Maryland, states, “Driskell evidences his commitment to enhancing the study of art by emphasizing the multicultural contributions made by Native Americans, Black, Asian and European artists.”

Rubie Britt-Height, Director of Community Relations at The Mint Museum, first met Driskell while on staff at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. “Dr. Driskell was often involved with us—sharing, advising, and supporting,” says Britt-Height. “He would lend commentary on a work or an exhibition, and we’d inquisitively seek his wisdom. And of course, he had great ties to Loïs Mailou Jones, his Howard University art instructor.”

Driskell advised esteemed collections, and in 1996, he assisted President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton in their selection of the first work of art by an African-American for the White House permanent collection with the acquisition of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City.

Driskell directly touched our Charlotte community when his chose to honor his North Carolina roots by ending his national touring exhibition, Narratives of African American Art and Identity at The Mint Museum in 2002. The museum exhibition, along with a solo exhibition of his paintings at Noel Gallery, was facilitated by former Mint Museum trustee B.E. Noel. “The best way we can honor Dr. Driskell is to enfold the work of African-American art into every aspect of the canon and celebrate our common humanity through art,” says Noel.

Todd Herman, the Board of Directors and our Mint staff extend our appreciation to Dr. Driskell and sincere condolences to the Driskell family.

This piece was written by B.E. Noel, a former trustee of The Mint Museum who knew Dr. David Driskell through her role as a gallerist, collector, and scholar.