Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta with Fragile Future art piece

Immersed in Light: Studio Drift at the Mint

Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta with Fragile Future art piece
Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta with Fragile Future, from an article by Freunde von Freunden

“People find the time to look at art within a gallery setting, but the world is one big exhibition if you only care to look.” –Studio Drift, 2017.

The Mint Museum is organizing the first solo museum exhibition outside Europe by Studio Drift, a design group based in the Netherlands that creates breathtaking sculptures that explore the relationship between humanity, nature and technology. Dutch artists Ralph Nauta (b.1978) and Lonneke Gordijn (b.1980) established their studio in 2007, after graduating from the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven. Their work emanates from their distinct, yet complementary and intertwined interests. Whereas Nauta has long been fascinated by science fiction and futuristic thinking, Gordijn has an abiding interest in nature, which she views as more hi-tech than anything humans could create. Accordingly, in bringing their ideas to life, they approach technology from “an intuitive and emotional perspective,” as Gordijn puts it, often using it to emulate nature and ultimately to create an emotional experience for the viewer. Frequently new technology must be developed to realize their ideas, requiring ongoing collaborations with scientists, university research facilities, computer programmers, and engineers. Over the years Studio Drift has grown to 20 employees, who manage a busy schedule of commissions, gallery shows, and other projects around the world.

In 2018 the studio had their first solo exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. They have won numerous international design awards and have participated in group shows such as Design Society at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in 2016 and What is Luxury?, a collaboration between the V&A and the Crafts Council in 2015. Studio Drift’s work has been featured at several major design fairs including Design Miami/Basel, Art Paris Art Fair, Dubai Design Week, artmonte-carlo, FOG Design + Art, and ZONA MACO. Their design works and site-specific installations are included in the permanent collections of the Rijksmuseum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, SF MoMA, and others.

This exhibition will feature five works by Studio Drift dating from the last decade to today, most of which have been customized for the Mint, and one installation, Seeds (working title only), premiering here. This blog post is the first in a series that will explore each of the works in the exhibition and offer a behind-the-scenes view of the exhibition’s development.

Studio Drift. Fragile Future 3, 2015, installation at Cidade Materrazo, Brazil

The story of Studio Drift starts with its lighting installation Fragile Future, a network of bronze electrical circuits and dandelion puffs made of LED lights to which dandelion seeds have been individually hand-glued. It is a profound and poetic reflection on the fact that light is the basis and sustenance of all life as well as a testament to the transience of our life and times. Delicate dandelion puffs are the ultimate symbol of ephemerality, yet here they are frozen in time, unable to fulfill their original purpose. Instead, they filter the LED lights and appear to either give power to them or derive power from them.

Studio Drift. Fragile Future Chandelier (Detail). Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Fragile Future began as Gordijn’s graduation project at the Design Academy Eindhoven after she noticed the similarity between LED lights and the centers of dandelions and realized that the seeds could be used to filter light. As she told Modern magazine in its spring 2017 issue, “It worked out perfectly and the hard light was spread so organically and softly. This was the first time that I realized that nature and technology did not have to be enemies, but could also be connected with each other and even share a similar size and aesthetic.”

After graduating, Gordijn and Nauta, who had been friends since their first days at Eindhoven, founded Studio Drift and developed Fragile Future further. Early versions were individual light fixtures, but the concept soon evolved into modules—just as dandelions are weeds, notorious for spreading everywhere, Fragile Future can expand in any direction. Essentially a three-dimensional circuit board without the board, it can be mounted on walls, hung from a ceiling, or spread across the floor. Lonneke and Ralph describe the development of the work in this video:

Studio Drift showed Fragile Future in 2007 at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, the major international design fair, and immediately received accolades.  This success enabled them to show the work at Design Miami the following year, leading to representation by the Paris-based Carpenters Workshop Gallery. A show of Fragile Future by that gallery at the PAD design fair in Paris in 2009 sold out the edition of eight plus four artist’s proofs. Since then, Studio Drift have continued making new iterations of Fragile Future while also exploring ever more ambitious ideas in other sculptures, which will be described in upcoming blog posts. Their exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum included the largest installation of Fragile Future to date, shown below; the version shown at The Mint Museum will be of similar size.

Studio Drift. Fragile Future 3, 2018, installation at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

New exhibition will highlight the career of bestselling author and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi

Charlotte, N.C. (April 3, 2019): The Mint Museum is pleased to announce that works from across the career of New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi will be on view in the upcoming exhibition  “Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi” from June 22 to November 3, 2019 at Mint Museum Randolph.

Tony DiTerlizzi – Photo credit “Jim Gipe photo / Pivot Media”

DiTerlizzi is widely recognized as one of this generation’s leading authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults, and the exhibition—the most extensive look at the art of book illustration The Mint Museum has ever done—will feature more than 150 of his original works.

The exhibition will showcase paintings and sketches from DiTerlizzi’s popular picture books, including The Spider & The Fly (a Caldecott Honor book), chapter books Kenny and the Dragon and the WondLa trilogy, as well as The Spiderwick Chronicles, a middle-grade series he co-wrote with Holly Black that has sold more than 20 million copies, has been translated in over 30 countries, and was made into a feature film.

Tony DiTerlizzi, 2003.
Materials: Acryla gouache on Bristol board.
Cover illustration for The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone, 2003.
©Tony DiTerlizzi. All rights reserved.

It will also highlight the early years of DiTerlizzi’s career, when he got his start designing for Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. The breadth of the artist’s career is expected to draw audiences of all ages and backgrounds, from young children to young-at-heart adults, gamers to artists of all mediums.

DiTerlizzi is known for creating compelling characters—think fantastical creatures, monsters, and heroes—that draw viewers into new worlds, and so the exhibition itself will be designed to bring his works to life. There will be interactive elements where visitors can engage with beloved characters, an area where visitors can lounge and curl up with one of DiTerlizzi’s books, and spots where inspired visitors can even do their own sketches.

“The Mint Museum design team has taken its cues from Tony’s fantastical world of characters and created an experience for visitors of all ages, unlike anything you have seen at the Mint before,” says The Mint Museum President and CEO Todd A. Herman, PhD.

Tony DiTerlizzi
Created: 2001
Materials: Acryla gouache on Bristol board.
Illustration from Ted, 2001.
©Tony DiTerlizzi. All rights reserved.

The “Never Abandon Imagination” exhibition name comes from DiTerlizzi’s personal motto. “Imagination is so key to us as a people,” says the 49-year-old artist. “All the breakthroughs in humanity were by imaginative thinkers.”

During the run of the exhibition, the museum will also present a selection of works by local illustrators in an adjacent gallery, celebrating the tremendous talent right here in the Charlotte region.

“Tony’s boundless energy, enthusiasm, and desire to engage his readers and viewers are infectious,” says Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman. “Our team has greatly enjoyed getting to know his characters and finding ways to bring them to life in the galleries.”

There will be a VIP launch party open to Mint members only on Thursday, June 20 with DiTerlizzi, and the exhibition at Mint Museum Randolph will be open to the public Saturday, June 22.

The exhibition was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where it broke attendance records in 2018. It is presented in Charlotte thanks to the generous support of the Triad Foundation.

For more details and to become a Mint member, visit www.mintmuseum.org

Tony DiTerlizzi, 1999.
Cover illustration for Dungeon Adventures magazine #262, 1999.
Materials: Acryla gouache on Bristol board.
©Tony DiTerlizzi. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Silvia Levenson posing against a simple backdrop

Argentinian glass artist Silvia Levenson to speak on her craft, domestic violence

Photo by Marco Del Comune

Charlotte, N.C. (March 18, 2019) Argentinian glass artist Silvia Levenson will be at Mint Museum Uptown 2 – 4 PM Sunday, March 24 to discuss her career and how the theme of domestic violence plays out in her work—particularly in her sculpture Until Death Do Us Part, recently acquired by The Mint Museum.

Levenson’s work is known for starting conversations about difficult topics, such as violence against women inside the home. Her show-stopping Until Death Do Us Part—installed in February at Mint Museum Uptown—is anchored by a 330-pound hollow glass cake, topped by a plaster hand grenade.

Behind the translucent, three-tiered cake, on a striking red wall, are the words “until death do us part,” formed from metal wire. It’s a metaphor for the fragility of relationships and the domestic violence many women worldwide face every day.

“The family is often equated with sanctuary…but the evidence shows that it is also a place that imperils lives,” says Levenson. “One-third of murdered women in the world are killed by a husband or partner.”

Levenson was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina but emigrated to Italy in 1981 with her husband and young children to escape the oppressive regime of military dictator Jorge Rafael Videla. During his rule from 1976 to 1981, members of Levenson’s family “disappeared.” Her experience over that intense and frightening time continues to inform her work. She currently divides her time between Buenos Aires and Lesa, Italy.

The event is open to the public and included in the price of museum admission. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask Levenson questions and meet with her after the discussion while enjoying light refreshments, including cookies, coffee, and tea. Mint Museum members get in free. Price for non-members is just museum admission: $15 for adults, $10 for college students and seniors (65+), $6 for children ages 5-17, and free for children ages 4 and under.

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Questions? Contact Caroline Portillo, Director of Marketing & Communications at The Mint Museum: caroline.portillo@mintmuseum.org, 704.337.2009.

Silvia Levenson (Argentinian, 1957–). Until Death Do Us Part, 2013, kiln-formed glass, metal structure, plaster, wire. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Mint Museum of Craft + Design Collections Board and the Charles W. Beam Accessions Endowment. 2018.64
A crowd at the Potters Market Invitational. There are large tents set up on Mint Museum Randolph's lawn to host the event

Potters Market at The Mint Museum to return in 2020

Potters Market at The Mint Museum to return in 2020

Charlotte, N.C. (March 8, 2019)  After much thought and deliberation, the Delhom Service League of the Mint Museum has decided to postpone its signature event, the Potters Market, until 2020, when the festival will be reimagined to be bigger and more robust than ever.

“We want to re-do it, reinvent it,” says Phil Sciabarrasi, president of the Delhom Service League, the ceramics affiliate of The Mint Museum, which promotes ceramic arts and education. “We want to spend time revisiting all aspects of the Potters Market to help us produce an experience that that will continue to grow and highlight North Carolina ceramics, while also delighting potters and attendees.”

One of the major changes in store: Rather than continue as an invitational, the 2020 Potters Market will be a juried show, a move that will bring even more diversity to the beloved affair.

The event will also coincide with the 10th anniversary of the opening of Mint Museum Uptown. “This will be a very celebratory year for the museum, and our intention is to make the 2020 Potters Market a large part of that celebration,” says Sciabarrasi.

Started in 2004, the annual Potters Market is beloved by ceramics collectors and pottery fans alike for the opportunity it provides to get to know dozens of the state’s best potters and shop the latest works in the rich tradition of North Carolina pottery. Wares range from mugs, teapots and jars to oversized pots, contemporary art pottery and sculptures.

Funds raised by the festival help support acquisitions to The Mint Museum’s ceramics collection and help to promote interest in ceramic arts. Delhom Service League hosts many public programs and hands on experiences throughout the year using these funds, relating to all types of ceramics, from ancient to contemporary. As the group works to reimagine the Potters Market, they hope enthusiasts will continue to engage with ceramics and clay by taking advantage of these programs.

“Delhom Service League is thankful for the corporate sponsors, individual sponsors, and attendees who have been so supportive over the years, and for the exceptional potters who have brought their best work to sell,” says Sciabarrasi. “Potters Market has grown into one of the most important ceramics event in the state, and we want to return in 2020 with an enhanced experience worthy of their continued support in our exciting new chapter.”

For questions, email delhomserviceleague@gmail.com.

About Delhom Service League

The Delhom Service League was founded by M. Mellany Delhom as an affiliate organization of The Mint Museum in 1975. The group—credited with boosting interest and funding for The Mint Museum’s vast ceramics collection—is comprised of a diverse group of artists, teachers, corporate leaders, writers, librarians, doctors, and collectors. Over the last 40 years the focus of the group has expanded, but the mission of the group is the same: to promote ceramic arts and education. Today the league presents nationally and internationally known speakers, and supports the Delhom-Gambrell Reference Library for the decorative arts. It has funded the acquisition of numerous objects for the Mint’s ceramics collection.

Find Delhom Service League on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. See the Delhom Service League rack brochure with calendar.

Top Five Reasons to Take an Art of Reading Public Tour at Mint Museum Randolph

Top Five Reasons to Take an Art of Reading Public Tour at Mint Museum Randolph

1. Meet Fellow Bibliophiles.
The only thing better than reading a book you love is the opportunity to discuss it with others. Art of Reading public tours give you a chance to explore characters and analyze plot turns. The discussion is followed by a visit to the galleries to view art works that connect to the book.


2. The Sunday Afternoon Tours are Less Expensive than Panther Game Tickets.
Public tours take place on selected Wednesdays, 6-7:30 pm and Sundays, 2-3:30 pm. During football season, it’s an alternative activity for a Sunday afternoon. Off season, it’s a great way to spend selected Sundays. [And remember Wednesday evening options too: admission to the museum is free after 5:00.]


3. It’s a New Way to View Mint Art. Just Imagine:
Mr. Darcy holding that Derby Porcelain coffee cup and saucer in the Portals to the Past Exhibition (Pride and Prejudice). Or, Frida Kahlo wearing a distinctive necklace similar to the jadeite one in the Ancient American Galleries (The Lacuna). Or, Tree-ear admiring the 12th Century Korean porcelain bowls in the Wares of the World Exhibition (A Single Shard). Or, Sarah Grimke learning plantation social customs by using the Staffordshire miniature tea and coffee service in the Portals to the Past Exhibition (The Invention of Wings).


4. Tours are Free.
Free to museum members; free after admission for non-members.


5. There’s A Tour for All Interests.
Choose from four current book tours: Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen); The Invention of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd); The Lacuna (Barbara Kingsolver); or A Single Shard (Linda Sue Park).


More information on group tours can be found here.
A fifth tour for Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns will launch at Mint Museum Uptown April 2019.

Michele Allen and Alice Ross, Docents and Members, Public Tours Task Force

Under Construction: Collage from The Mint Museum to open December 1 at Mint Museum Uptown

Drawing together nearly 100 works from the museum’s Modern & Contemporary Collection, Under Construction: Collage from The Mint Museum is the museum’s first exhibition to focus on this dynamic, engaging medium. This technique, in which materials from different sources are cut, torn, and layered to create new meanings and narratives, experienced a renaissance after World War II, due in large part to Charlotte native Romare Bearden, whose work plays a special role in this exhibition.

The exhibition will be open to Mint members only on Friday, November 30; it opens to the public on Saturday, December 1. A party celebrating the exhibition and featuring artists, lenders, donors, and Mint members is scheduled for January 31, 2019 – check mintmuseum.org/events for details.

Bearden has long had a special place at The Mint Museum, which maintains a gallery dedicated to his work at Mint Museum Uptown. In this special exhibition, he and his work serve as a point of departure to explore the medium for which he is best known.

“It was great fun pulling together Under Construction,” noted Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman, Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art. “This is the first time that the museum has examined this fascinating technique in depth in a special exhibition. It also was exciting to think about how the work of Romare Bearden (which is found throughout the exhibition) relates to that of so many other artists in the collection. Under Construction is filled with dynamic, thought-provoking objects that are sure to inspire and delight our visitors.”

Under Construction explores not only classic collages including those by Bearden, but also the wide range of ways in which the technique has inspired artists and impacted other forms of art, from painting and printmaking to photography and assemblage. Featuring more than 30 international artists, Under Construction will explore the growth and impact of the collage technique from the 1950s to the present. It will include more than a dozen works by Bearden, as well as examples by such notable artists as Sam Gilliam, Robert Motherwell, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Shepard Fairey, Howardena Pindell, Robert Rauschenberg, and James Rosenquist.

Visitors will be able to discover how eight inventive contemporary artists have continued to mine the medium recent years in a section titled “New Directions.” Although drawn primarily from the rich holdings of The Mint Museum, this exhibition will also include special loans from private collections.

The exhibition is organized by The Mint Museum. Media partners are The Charlotte Observer, Pride Magazine, and Peachy.

Media and special guests are invited to preview the exhibition at 10 AM on Friday, November 30 at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street. Light refreshments will be served and interviews with the curator and select artists will be available. RSVP to leigh.dyer@mintmuseum.org.

Augmented Reality

As an artist whose work spans performance art, music, sound, light, architecture, and virtual reality, Vesna Petresin’s perspective is in great demand. In addition to designing Lumisonica for The Mint Museum, Vesna has had a busy year full of exciting projects. During the last six weeks alone, she presented at three major events: the Netherlands Film Festival (Utrecht, The Netherlands, September 27 – October 5); the Beyond Festival and Symposium (Center for Media Arts, Karlsruhe, Germany, October 3 – 7); and VR Days Europe (Amsterdam, October 24 – 26). Additionally, she gave a talk at the TNW Conference at the Technical University of Munich in March, and since January has served as an Artist-in-Residence at the Amsterdam Academy for the Arts.

Vesna Petresin performing in Open Studio, a mixed reality experience, ID Lab, Theatre and Dance Academy, Amsterdam 2018

According to its website, the Netherlands Film Festival is “the leading platform for the Netherlands’ national film culture. It celebrates the achievements of Dutch filmmakers and provides the bridge between film culture and all facets of Dutch society….It is active throughout the year, stimulating and promoting Dutch film culture before the 9-day extravaganza in late September” when the best productions of the previous 12 months are presented. “These days, cinema is more than just films, and so NFF incorporates into its program disciplines that draw inspiration from, and themselves influence, the cinematic narrative form, from TV drama, music, and visual arts to games and interactive productions.” This year was the festival’s 38th year.

Vesna spoke on a panel in the “Our Brave New World” session, moderated by Dr. Dan Hassler-Forest, a researcher, writer, and lecturer at Utrecht University. In Vesna’s words, this panel was “about the utopian and dystopian aspects of new imaging and media technologies.” In describing her talk, entitled “The Real and the Virtual of VR,” she wrote, “The strength of Virtual Reality is that it offers the possibility to experience artificial realities as real: time and space fused into a “modulated” reality. Within this medium, my performance work has a strong idiosyncratic signature, exploring the medium in various contexts. My work is in transdisciplinary art and Research & Development – through performance and public art I examine the processes of transformation and the concept of time.”

Following her talk, Vesna presented Matter = Information, a new immersive sound and light VR experience for HTC Hive, which she created in collaboration with the Dutch VR developer Aron Fels.

Vesna Petresin and Aron Fels, still image from Matter = Information, 2018

The theme for this year’s Beyond Festival was Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Post-Capitalism. Its website states: “Within the coming decades new technologies are going to change our lives and the way we perceive it beyond our expectations. The BEYOND Festival is a creative collaboration of science, technology and art, an experimental laboratory for new forms of art, which simultaneously offers a glance at social effects regarding new technologies in a global context…It is a festival of films, audio-visual installations and additionally a symposium which exhibits new forms of art and media, such as 2D, 3D, artificial intelligence, virtual-, mixed- and augmented reality.”

Vesna expanded on the idea of matter as information in her talk, “Present Continuous.” She describes the talk thusly: “As the world of technology focuses on the process from bits to particles and from particles back to bits, the impact of social change through technology gives rise to a digital world order. Here, our value is defined by what we contribute to data processing. The culture of flow, Interaction, sharing, tracking, prosuming [serving as both producer and consumer], redefines ways in which we learn, work, trade, communicate and relax. In the world when the ancient myths are fused with emergent godlike technologies such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, how will we define what it means to be human?” Vesna presented similar ideas in her talk at the Technical University of Munich in March.

After the talk Vesna again presented the VR experience, Matter = Information.

Vesna Petresin and Aron Fels, still image from Matter = Information, 2018

For the exhibition portion of the Beyond Festival, Vesna showed The Scores of Chaos, a VR experience based on composer György Ligeti’s musical notation, which she created with a team in Amsterdam called the XR Base Unit. They worked at XRBASE Amsterdam, a co-working space and production company for immersive content that has locations across Europe. Vesna has worked with XRBASE Amsterdam (formerly known as VRBase) on several projects, including content visualization and modeling for Lumisonica.

Still image from The Scores of Chaos | Executive producer: Daniel ‘Kip’ Doornink | Fractal artist: Julius Horsthuis |Creative coders: Sander Sneek, Ruud op den Kelder | Creative advisor: Vesna Petresin | Voice-over audio: Whoozy Music | Supported by XMG, Sensiks
All music by György Ligeti performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Cappella Amsterdam.

Vesna writes, “The Scores of Chaos is an immersive experience, commissioned by Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam 2018) as an homage to the musical genius of the contemporary Hungarian composer Ligeti.

His music featured in some of the most iconic scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s work, making this collaboration groundbreaking for the history of the moving image. Ligeti’s fascination with the world of fractals, chaos and multisensory experience of music, has been the inspiration behind an imaginary trip into the world of his scores. Music becomes an immersive visual landscape, a doorway into the otherworldly beauty of mathematics, of our imagination, and the universe.”

György Ligeti’s music also inspired Vesna’s sound composition for Lumisonica.

VR Days Europe is “a conference and exhibition focused on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality XR content, creativity, and innovation” comprising keynotes, sessions, workshops, and seminars led by “over 140 thought leaders and experts drawn from the health, technology, business, and arts sectors.”

Vesna presented a talk at the Museum Morning panel, at which creators, producers and artists shared projects that successfully used XR (X Reality) technology in the museum and heritage sector. The panel’s moderator was Daan Kip, a co-founder of VR Days Europe and founder of the XRBASE network. Other panelists included Nina Diamond, Content Manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Vesna’s talk, “Immersive Ambients,” discussed how “Interactive media allow us to create immersive environments and experiences outside of the ‘white cube’ of a gallery or the ‘black box’ of a theatre.” She writes, “To create a fusion of the built environment and the media, my practice utilizes the conceptof a smart, playable city…. People actively shape their environment; my work attempts to render visible and audible the impact we have on the world – on the shapes, colors, sounds, emotions, social experiences and physical processes – simply by being here.” She discussed Lumisonica, among other projects.

Vesna also hosted a session in the Philosopher’s Salon, a yurt where visitors took off their shoes, refrained from using technology, and discussed questions surrounding XR technology such as human relationships with virtual characters and the ethical implications of humans carrying out acts in virtual environments that are illegal in the real world.

Vesna’s talk, another version of “Present Continuous,” focused on presence in Virtual, Physical, and Mixed Reality. “As our present looks increasingly dystopian, questions arise about the future and the impact of social change through technology, while a new digital world order seems to be taking shape. A sense of presence in virtual worlds is akin to an escape from the trauma of existence. a largely disembodied experience allowing to play god. Rethinking the philosopher Montaigne, the sensory perception may well be synonymous with sensory illusion, as the meaning of the truth seems to become intangible, and commodified,” she writes of her talk. Afterward she led a conversation among salon visitors.

Throughout her research and artistic practice, Vesna Petresin engages with pressing questions around the relationship between humans and technology in the twenty-first century. Lumisonica extends that inquiry to the environment of The Mint Museum, creating an enhanced experience in which visitors’ interactions with the technology on the staircase lead to new perceptions of their effect on the spaces they inhabit. Come to the debut of Lumisonica at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street, on Friday night, November 16, from 6 to 9 PM to experience it yourself.