‘I feel an impulse to be bolder, more direct,’ says artist Damian Stamer
Damian Stamer is a North Carolina native whose art is influenced by his Southern roots and rural landscapes. Though he’s painting the same subject matter, Stamer says he’s finding a different energy and urgency to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Studio location: Nestled in the woods of northern Durham County, North Carolina
Describe the artwork you create and medium your use
I paint architectural remnants that dot the rural landscape of the Carolinas. These are mostly oil paintings on panel, but I also love printmaking.
Who are artists that inspire you and your work?
Anselm Kiefer, Beverly McIver, Neo Rauch, Matthias Weischer, Cecily Brown, Willem de Kooning, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cy Twombly, Dana Schutz, Adrian Ghenie, Kerry James Marshall, Vincent van Gogh, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Gerhard Richter, and Robert Rauschenberg.
What is your favorite piece or artwork that you created and why?
I appreciate different pieces for different reasons, but if I had to pick one at this moment, I’d say St. Marys Rd. 8. It depicts an abandoned house on St. Marys Road just a few miles from the studio. In addition to enjoying how it turned out visually, it’s one of my favorites because I wrestled with it for over two years before laying down the final brushstroke.
How does your environment influence your art?
In a way, my environment is my art. I paint my everyday surroundings. These are the places of my childhood. They allow me to explore memory, with all its faults and fictions, and investigate the tension between personal and historical truth.
Tell us about your new morning routine, including when you start your day and how you spend the early hours.
Before this all started, I was waking up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. to paint, but then I decided it would be a good idea to sleep in to make sure I get enough rest for a healthy immune system. So now I’m waking up around 8 a.m. and beginning the day with meditation and exercise.
Are you finding new inspiration for your art during this shift of perspective in the world?
Although I continue to paint the same subject matter, I’m finding a different energy and urgency to the work. It’s hard to describe, but I feel an impulse to be bolder, more direct. To quote my favorite musical, “no other road, no other way, no day but today.”
Tell us about your afternoon. Are you working from home, going to your studio?
My studio is a short walk or very short drive from home, so I’m back and forth between the two quite a bit. In addition to painting, I have better wifi at the studio, so I’m usually on that computer if I have a Zoom meeting. I’ve also been taking a walk with my parents every afternoon. We stay on opposite sides of the road. We talk about our fears and what makes us anxious. We talk about the latest news and our plans for the day. We walk by the farm and say hello to the steers or take a moment to appreciate the redbuds’ blossoms or songbirds’ calls. We say what we are thankful for. These walks have been an incredible gift.
What positive perspective changes in society would you like to see come from the pandemic?
This pandemic definitely has a way of putting things in perspective. Although it can bring up a lot of fears, it may also help us realize the many things in life that we are grateful for, the precious nature of every present moment.
How are you winding down your day? Have any recommendations for stress relievers to settle after another day done?
We started watching movies every night, which seemed like a bit of an indulgence compared to the normal schedule, but it has been a fun way to relieve stress and relax.
What are you cooking? What’s your comfort food of choice?
First off, I feel very privileged to have ready access to food during this time. I’m fortunate to live with a partner who is an amazing cook, so I’ve been washing a lot of dishes to do my part in the kitchen. Red lentil dal is a favorite, but I’m pretty spoiled because everything is delicious. It’s like a gourmet quarantine.
What are you currently reading?
Interviews with Artists: 1966-2012 by Michael Peppiatt and a lot of digital NYTimes.
What is your favorite music choice?
The Avett Brothers
What is your favorite podcast(s)?
The Daily (NYTimes)
On the Daily: 24 Hours in the Life of Katherine Boxall
Large abstract paintings may be Katherine Boxall’s lifeblood, but she’s no hippie artist. In fact, the 26-year-old Ottawa, Canada native finds freedom—and creativity—in the near-scientific precision she applies to her daily schedule. Boxall, who moved to Charlotte from San Francisco in 2018, is the new Constellation CLT artist, whose work will be on display in Mint Museum Uptown’s public spaces beginning Feb. 21.
Boxall currently splits her time between her 25-hour-a-week marketing job at Jerald Melberg Gallery and her west Charlotte studio, a haven for her work with acrylics, spray paint, pastels, and oils. While wrestling her golden retriever puppy, Sophie, out of a mud puddle, Boxall walked us through her typical Wednesday.
6:10 AM I wake up. I literally do not even get out of my bed until I’ve had two espressos with some oatmeal cream that my fiancé brings to me. We have a golden retriever puppy, Sophie, who will then come in and jump on my side of the bed. So it’s double espresso, then pet the dog.
6:30 AM My fiancé drops me off at Burn Boot Camp in Elizabeth. When people say, “enjoy your workout,” I think that’s crazy. But I do it, and it feels great. Then I walk back to our home in Elizabeth.
7:20 AM I pick up Sophie and we go on a walk around the block. Everyone wants to pet her. No one knows my name, but they all know her name. She gets catcalls from across the street. It takes us 30 minutes to go one block.
7:50 AM I have a green smoothie every morning: spinach, cucumber, avocado, banana, celery, and protein powder. I try to ensure I do all my good habits Monday to Friday because I don’t want to think about doing any good habits on the weekends. Like zero.
9 AM I get to Jerald Melberg Gallery. Technically I’m the social media manager, but we don’t do titles there—Jerald and his wife, Mary, are sticklers about that: not creating a hierarchy. Everyone is expected to be a team player. We usually gather around the coffee pot for 10 minutes. Then I go to my desk in the back and edit pictures and write copy. I have a fake Instagram account, so I can test out how certain things look. I post 10 different things and then log in as a user and see how someone would see it. No detail is too small. It’s about how you make people feel when they’re interacting with your brand.
Noon I meet with Jerald for 10 minutes before I leave to go home and feed Sophie. Then she takes me for a walk. It’s usually breakfast tacos for lunch. I’ll scramble eggs and put them in tortillas or do a cheese board with cheese, crackers, and olives. It’s not measly. The worst thing I could ever do is under-eat at lunch. It will sabotage my afternoon at the studio. I can’t think about anything when I’m hungry.
1 PM For the next hour, I sit on my couch and do business and admin stuff: answering emails, scheduling art shipments, applying for new opportunities and awards, and managing my website and social networks. Then I change my clothes. I literally wear the same raggedy Lululemon sweatpants, a vintage Nike sweatshirt and a polar fleece I’ve had since I was 11 years old.
2 PM I get to my art studio on Wilkinson Boulevard. It’s 650 square feet and perfect for what I want to do.
2:05 PM I set everything up and clean up my last session. It helps me get back in the zone. I put on a couple of playlists I’ve been listening to for years. On Spotify, it’d be categorized as “brain food”—ambient, repetitive, electronic, indie. Nothing with too many lyrics or anything that would affect my mood that much because that will affect the way I paint. I usually have two or three large, 8-feet-by-six-feet paintings in my studio at a time, and I also have small ones scattered everywhere. I use the smaller pieces to test out different colors and textures. Then when I go to the big painting, I’m super confident and it just flows. A lot of times I come at the smaller ones with such an intuitive eye that they end up being just as good or better than the big ones. So, there’s not a hierarchy between the works—it’s just my process, a way for me to say, “This is low pressure.” It’s a mind game. I don’t want to see the struggle on the large works. For me, it’s also about knowing when to stop, leaving a lot of negative space. That’s control.
3 PM I take some pictures of the work. I love putting progress pictures on my Instagram. It’s fun for people to see, and it keeps me from psyching myself out.
3:30 PM I take a break. My best artist friend calls me and we talk for an hour about painting. That really helps me feel like I’m still part of the community in California. We are in two different warehouses across the world, but we’re still collaborating and thinking about the same thing.
4 PM I take the pictures I took of my work and upload them to my computer, where I test a bunch of things in Photoshop. It helps me have even more confidence in my designs. It’s a digital sketchbook.
4:30 PM This is the moment where I decide, “Am I going to beat traffic and go home, or am I going to push it until 6:30 p.m.?” It’s usually flipping a coin. Some days I need to do more thinking and work on my computer. Some days I am completely in the zone.
7 PM I’m home and my fiancé and I make dinner. I usually marinate salmon in the morning for us to have for dinner that night. He always grills the vegetables.
8 PM I take Sophie for a walk and then try to be as lazy as possible. At night, we watch a lot of Netflix and HBO. We just finished “You.”
10:30 PM Bedtime. I’m definitely not a hippie artist—I’m a type-A artist. I think if you’re trying to take it seriously, you have to take it seriously. If you don’t treat it like your day job, it’s not your day job. It takes a lot of constant effort.
— As told to Caroline Portillo, Director of Marketing & Communications
The Mint Museum is pleased to announce the public debut of Lumisonica, a site-specific, interactive light and sound installation on the Grand Staircase of Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts created by Vesna Petresin. Beginning Friday, November 16, visitors will experience a changing canvas of ambient light and sound that responds to their movements as they climb or descend the stairs.
That evening, Mint Museum President & CEO Todd A. Herman PhD and artist Vesna Petresin will make remarks. The event begins at 6 PM with remarks anticipated at 6:30 PM. Petresin and Creative Design Lead Ben Mason will also be available to speak to the media. There will be a cash bar in the museum’s atrium, and the museum galleries will remain open until 9 PM.
Petresin, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is a trans-disciplinary artist who has exhibited and performed at the Tate Modern; ArtBasel Miami; the Royal Academy of the Arts; the Venice Biennale; the Institute of Contemporary Arts London; and the Vienna Secession. She is based in London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. She is scheduled to be an artist in residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation from January through April.
Mason, based in Asheville, runs a digital media business offering services such as media systems architecture and design, photography, animation, web design, sound design, show control/stage interactives, and more. He designed and implemented the lighting and sound systems and consulted on programming for Lumisonica.
The project was funded through a generous grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which challenged museums to use technology to enhance the visitor experience.
Creating a multisensory landscape
Lumisonica transforms the museum’s main entrance into an unparalleled immersive experience that will be choreographed by the visiting public. Based upon the idea of the smart city, this multisensory landscape makes invisible space visible, audible, and tangible while aiming to increase people’s awareness that they can and do shape their own place, perceptions and reality. Lumisonica assures a daring and playful experience like no other in the heart of Charlotte’s flourishing art district. Juxtaposed near the large reflective Niki de Saint Phalle sculpture Firebird in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, this light and sound sculpture provides another dynamic feature to highlight entropic experiences, moiré patterns and other optical and perceptional illusions in this cultural area.
The “smart city” concept of this dynamic datascape is drawn from two components that change the form to an accessible visual/audio display based upon public movement and engagement:
Visual content is created by programmable LED light features embedded into the staircase and railings. The light effects are designed to work interactively based on data captured from the environment as well as on presets of visual effects. The light effects are programmed along a 24/7 schedule with pre-rendered sets at specific times of the day, combined with responsive effects based on criteria such as visibility, program of events at the museum, and the number of visitors.
Audio content permeates ambient sound loops designed to respond and support the light effects. These amplify the visitor’s feeling of presence in the environment and assist their spatial navigation, by amplifying the ranges of frequencies that translate to embodied sensations. The audio content includes composed soundscapes and loops of sonic textures as well as key framed musical motifs on specific days and at specific times to announce events.
“My work tries to offer a moment to remember we inhabit and co-create a multisensory symphony,” said Petresin. “The piece for the Mint has been inspired by the idea that matter is information under constant transformation, bringing memory, human connection, wonder, and innovation.”
Lumisonica will be in place during The Mint Museum’s upcoming exhibition Immersed in Light (Fall 2019 – Spring 2020). The exhibition will feature experiential lighting installations by four contemporary artists and designers at Mint Museum Uptown.
Staircase to enhance museum experience, visitation
The Mint was among 12 recipients of $1.87 million in funding from the Knight Foundation for new ways of using technology to immerse visitors in art. Institutions in cities including Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City are joining Charlotte in creating new tools ranging from chat bots to augmented reality apps to engage new audiences.
Funding for this project is part of a Knight Foundation initiative to help museums better meet new community demands and use digital tools to meaningfully engage visitors in art. Knight, which promotes informed and engaged communities, has helped institutions—from newsrooms to libraries—adapt to and thrive in the digital age. This funding expands the foundation’s use of its digital expertise to help art museums build stronger, more vibrant communities.
“The arts have the rare power to bring diverse communities together, provoke personal reflection, and inspire new ways of thinking,” said Victoria Rogers, Knight Foundation vice president for the arts. “Our hope is that by integrating technology, museums can better reach and engage audiences in ways that connect them to the art.”
ABOUT VESNA PETRESIN
Vesna Petresin is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Amsterdam University of the Arts and a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths (University of London). She has been an Artist in Residence at ZKM in Germany and created a London-based trans-disciplinary art collective whose exploration of optics, acoustics and psychology takes the format of performance, installation and artifact.
As a time architect, non-object based designer, space composer and performer, her practice utilizes an alchemy of media and senses (sound, film, space, interaction, and performance) to take art out of the white cube and bring it into an immersive experience. The key concept is transformation—of the material, the immaterial and the self.
Petresin seeks elements to link cultures rather than separate them and pays attention to archetypal formal constants and patterns existing in nature, human perception and the creative process. Her work in immersive light is ground-breaking and has been featured at Tate Modern, ArtBasel Miami, Venice Biennale, The Royal Festival Hall, The Royal Academy of Arts, ICA, The Sydney Opera House, Vienna Secession, Cannes International Film Festival and Kings Place among others.
Petresin’s academic background in classical music and architecture has propelled her as a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, a Member of the Architectural Association, a keynote speaker at symposia including “SuperLux: Smart Light Art, Design and Architecture for Cities” (Technical University of Munich, 2016), the XR Summit (ISE at RAI, Amsterdam 2018) and a print author of internationally notable publications. She has written on smart cities (Thames & Hudson, Black Dog) and on Leonardo da Vinci’s creative methods in relation to 21st century view of morphogenesis in art and design for Springer Publications.
ABOUT THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.
The Young Affiliates of the Mint (the “YAMs”) are proud to present the Sixth Annual Fall Ball: “Mint Main Event.” The black-tie gala will take place on Saturday, November 3 from 8 PM to midnight at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts and will be themed around old Hollywood and include live entertainment and an open bar. This year’s Fall Ball will serve as a fundraiser in support of the YAMs’ contribution to the Mint’s Annual Fund to provide Mint Museum tours for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students.
In support of the YAMs’ mission of promoting and celebrating the arts, the charitable event will be an ode to old Hollywood glam featuring live music from Sammy Sinatra and the Mad Men, “the South’s premiere Vegas style lounge act with a twist,” as well as Charlotte’s own DJ Chescov. There will even be a red-carpet walk of fame highlighting the names of attendees who purchased early-bird tickets, recognizing them for their support.
“We’re proud to bring Fall Ball back to Mint Museum Uptown following their Grand Re-opening Celebration,” said Amorette Mangum, co-chair of the annual event. “To make this philanthropic event even more accessible for Charlotte’s young professional crowd, we’ve lowered the ticket prices for the first time in the event’s history.”
Tickets start at just $80 for members and $99 for non-members and include hors d’oeuvres and complimentary beer and wine. To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit https://13800.blackbaudhosting.com/13800/Fall-Ball-2018-MINT-MAIN-EVENT.
Special thanks to the 2018 Fall Ball title sponsor, Felix Sabates Lincoln, and our annual gold sponsor, United Global Technologies, as well as Tito’s Vodka and La Belle Helene for their contributions to this annual event. In addition to Fall Ball, the YAMs are proud to partner with UGT for their 2018-2019 signature events including the YP Mixer, Derby Days, and the Art Show.
About Felix Sabates Lincoln
Felix Sabates Lincoln, located on South Boulevard in Charlotte, has a strong and committed sales staff with many years of experience satisfying customers’ needs. Felix Sabates is proud to sponsor the YAMs and the Charlotte arts community as well as serve as the title sponsor for Fall Ball: Mint Main Event.
About the United Global Technologies
For almost a decade, United Global Technologies has set the standard for US-based IT and engineering services. Founded in 2009, by Elizabeth Bernstein and Jason Monastra, UGT has excelled at meeting the diverse information technology, engineering, and operational needs of industrial and service leaders across the country and around the globe. Through the generosity and tireless efforts of UGT employees, families and friends, philanthropy has become more than an initiative — it is a way of life. UGT is headquartered in Charlotte, NC and is thrilled to be a part of the thriving community. To learn more about UGT visit https://www.ugtechnologies.com/.
About the Young Affiliates of the Mint
Established in 1990, the YAMs are a diverse group of young professionals promoting and supporting The Mint Museum through cultural, social, leadership, and fundraising activities and events. All YAM event proceeds directly benefit Charlotte-Mecklenburg students by offsetting the cost of Mint Museum tours throughout the school year.
For More Information Contact:
Amorette Mangum or Victoria Mathias
Fall Ball Co-Chairs, Young Affiliates of the Mint
In his delicately rendered sculptures, Michael Sherrill seeks to elicit a sense of wonder from viewers, and to make them see the natural world anew as he works with clay, glass, and metal to create exquisite floral forms. This retrospective organized by The Mint Museum illustrates the artist’s evolution over his more than 40-year career and highlights his contributions to contemporary art, craft, and design.
Michael Sherrill Retrospective opens later this month at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street. The museum will offer member-only hours 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. on Friday October 26; Sherrill gives a public talk, free with museum admission, 11 a.m. Saturday October 27. It is followed by a book signing in the Mint Museum Store with a new, lavishly illustrated catalogue published by The Mint Museum to accompany the exhibition.
The exhibition will travel to the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in summer 2019, and the Arizona State University Art Museum in early 2020.
“The idea for a Michael Sherrill Retrospective was ignited by close study of one of the Mint’s sculpture’s, Temple of the Cool Beauty (Yucca), then on loan from Ann and Tom Cousins, and further research,” said Annie Carlano, the Mint’s curator of Craft, Design, & Fashion. “Surveying contemporary clay globally, Michael’s work is exceptional in its sheer beauty—delicate botanical reveries that chronicle life cycles from blossom to wither. His command of materials, not just clay but metal and glass, and his brilliance as an inventor of tools and technologies, make the magic happen. There is simply nothing like his work anywhere on the planet.”
Carlano serves as lead organizing curator and Marilyn Zapf of The Center for Craft is guest curator; filmmakers Matthew Mebane and Maria White contributed video to the exhibition.
Primarily a self-taught artist, Sherrill moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to the Western North Carolina mountains in 1974. His early influences came from the North Carolina folk pottery tradition and the community surrounding Penland School of Crafts, Seagrove Potters, and the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, as well as from his studies of the ceramics of Asia and the Americas. These influences are apparent in Sherrill’s functional objects from the late 1970s and 80s. These early explorations led quickly to a new sculptural vocabulary, strong minimalist organic forms inspired by the botanical world. Sherrill’s unique aesthetic sensibilities are matched by his extraordinary skill and inventiveness. A true innovator, he has developed clay bodies and special tools to make the material fulfill his desired artistic outcome.
Over 70 objects will be on view, from a group of Steins (1977) to A Beautiful Death (2017). Loans from institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Racine Museum of Art; and individual collectors in Oregon, Florida, Vermont, and North Carolina are featured.
“The Mint Museum is committed to collecting, publishing, and exhibiting the best of contemporary craft,” said Dr. Todd A. Herman, President & CEO of the Mint. “We have recognized the unique talent of Michael Sherrill since his early forays in functional vessels, and through accessions and exhibitions have acknowledged his creative expression and skill. This retrospective is the culmination of several years of dedication and excellence on the part of Mint staff and I am proud of our team and other contributors.”
Exhibition sections and catalogue
Michael Sherrill Retrospective begins with a sense of place, as the visitor walks through re-creations and interpretations of his cobalt blue studio doors and the woods of his mountain home. Twenty-first-century ceramics, like contemporary art in general, can be characterized as an exciting period of experimentation: to express their creative vision, makers are incorporating new media and technologies to reach beyond traditional methods. Sherrill is one of the foremost practitioners of this approach. His inventiveness and worldview play ahead of current trends, and working off the beaten track, he developed a naturalist’s sensitivity to the botanical wonders of Bat Cave, North Carolina. Finding the universal in the close at hand, Sherrill’s extraordinary evolution in creating with clay—and other materials—is conveyed in this exhibition.
The first section of the exhibition, Early Works, features functional stoneware forms that demonstrate the young artist’s influences from both historic and contemporary North Carolina pottery as well as Native American and Asian inspired shapes, glazes, and raku firing techniques. It’s the smallest section of the show, due to the fact Sherrill’s oeuvre evolved so quickly from an artist’s initial period of exploration to maturity.
Teapots is the largest section of the exhibition and illustrates the way in which Sherrill uses the utilitarian object as vehicle for his forays into materials, process, and aesthetics. Here we can see sober Minimalist designs, drawing on traditional squat round forms, exuberant colorful expressionist compositions, and pure abstract forms. In this rich and imaginative installation, reminiscent of a fine tea shop, what is unseen is as important as the surface ornamentation, as Sherrill moves fluidly from stoneware to porcelain. Installed in an imaginative teashop-like setting, this section of the exhibition includes a hand-on activity related teas from around the world.
In an intimate room off the Teapot section is Studio. In this section of the exhibition visitors will encounter a selection of tools, organic materials, and other curiosities from Michael Sherrill’s actual studio Wonder Wall—a space filled with objects that inspire and invite contemplation. Underscoring the inventor in the artist, across from the Wonder Wall is an installation of array of colorful clay work tools from the artist’s Mudtools line. Visitors will be able to scroll through the twitter feed of Mudtools to see the amazing ways people around the globe are utilizing these implements.
Contemporary Sculpture begins with transitional objects from teapot botanical abstractions to full blown sculpture. Inspired by the ubiquitous rhododendron that he sees every day on his daily walks with his wife Margery, the artist crafted a series of ceramic and life size sculptures in 2008. Still, this is not entirely a linear path, as Sherrill hones his naturalist sensibilities, skill, and technologies creating both large scale an intimate ornate plant forms and makes huge creative leaps to Neo-Minimalist sheaths, reminiscent of Agnes Martin paintings. The last group of objects in the visitor’s path was created since 2014. Showing his fantastic facility with clay, glass, and lost wax casting bronze in wall mounted and freestanding sculptures, objects such as Black Medicine, A Beautiful Death, and Dutch Solomon eschew any doubt that he is a Southern American master.
Each section is introduced by a video that features Michael Sherrill addressing the visitor. Shot on location in Bat Cave and including some vintage film, the videos were produced by Matthew Mebane and Maria White, award winning documentary filmmakers based in Charleston, South Carolina.
A scholarly exhibition catalogue, edited by Carlano, accompanies the exhibition. It features essays by Marilyn Zapf, Assistant Director and Curator, The Center for Craft and Guest Curator; and Ezra Shales, Associate Professor of Art History, Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Published by The Mint Museum, the book will be available for $40 at both museum locations; beginning November 15, it will be available online at store.mintmuseum.org.
Michael Sherrill has received numerous prestigious awards, including the US Windgate Fellowship: Crafts and the Arts, US Artists (2010) and is a highly regarded teacher and lecturer throughout the United States, and in Japan and China. He serves on several non-profit boards and councils including the Archie Bray Foundation, and the Center for Craft, and has served as a member of the Founders’ Circle Board of Directors.
Mint curators Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design & Fashion and Emily Pazar, former curatorial assistant for Craft, Design & Fashion are the organizing curators; Marilyn Zapf, Assistant Director and Curator, The Center for Craft, Asheville, N.C., is Guest Curator.
The exhibition is organized by The Mint Museum. STEELFAB is the presenting sponsor for the exhibition. Generous support for the exhibition catalogue and tour provided by the Windgate Foundation; additional funding from the Founders’ Circle and Bank of America.
Media and invited guests are invited to preview the exhibition from 10 a.m.-noon on Thursday October 25; RSVP to email@example.com.
African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style introduces audiences to the dynamic traditions of African dress featuring colorful, boldly patterned printed cloth. The exhibition, opening to the public at Mint Museum Randolph October 7 following two days of Mint member previews, highlights the interplay between regional preferences and cosmopolitanism that has long flourished on the continent, while highlighting the expansiveness of 21st-century African-print fashion.
The exhibition will be open to Mint members on Friday, October 5 from 11 AM-6 PM and Saturday October 6 from 1-6 PM, and will open to the public on Sunday, October 7 from 1-5 PM. Two fashion designers with work featured in the exhibition, Titi Ademola and Alexis Temomanin, will be in Charlotte from Thursday through Sunday and are available for media interviews. Sunday’s event includes a public talk with both designers from 2-3 PM, free after museum admission. Public opening day also includes a drumming performance and a light reception with cash bar. Ademola, a Ghanian/Nigerian designer, is founder of the KIKI label, while Temomanin is the British-Ivorian founder of menswear brand Dent de Man.
African-Print Fashion Now!, organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA, expands the Mint’s presentations of contemporary fashion into a broader cultural arena, and continues the Mint’s emphasis on presenting exhibitions that represent diverse voices and backgrounds. “This exhibition aligns with our mission to explore the meaning of fashion in a global 21st-century context,” said Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design, & Fashion at the Mint. “From the bold, dynamic cloth, to the inventive, sculptural silhouettes, the textiles and fashions in this exhibition have inspired and infiltrated Western fashion, art, music, and popular culture.”
“The Mint is honored to be one of three venues for this important exhibition, and very pleased to collaborate with the Fowler Museum, UCLA, for the first time,” said Dr. Todd Herman, PhD, President & CEO of the Mint. “Additionally, we are deeply grateful to Charlotte’s own Michael Gallis for his role in bringing this exhibition to our community.”
The works featured throughout the exhibition demonstrate the vital role that African-print has played in the expression of beauty, fashion, and heritage, while creating transcultural connections across Africa and into the larger world.
The exhibition is complemented by an interactive design studio created by the Mint’s Learning & Engagement team, offering visitors of all ages opportunities to design their own prints, experience African-print fabrics, and go on a scavenger hunt through the exhibition.
Four sections weaving multiple themes
The exhibition is organized into four sections: “It All Starts with Cloth,” “Portraits in Print,” “Regional Styles, Fashion Preferences,” and “New Directions.” Collectively, the installation includes dozens of tailored fashions, nearly 100 archival and contemporary cloths, approximately 20 black-and-white studio portrait photographs from the 1960s and 1970s, a series of runway videos, and several works by contemporary visual artists. Ensembles on view draw from the Fowler’s collections, private loans, and the extensive archives of the Dutch textile manufacturing company Vlisco.
Several themes weave their way throughout the exhibition, mimicking the cyclical nature of fashion trends and the ripple effects of politics and technology on the formation of identity. One theme is consumer agency, both in determining designs and patterns through purchasing power and by commissioning unique ensembles from seamstresses and tailors. Another theme is the theatrical power of fashion, and its ability to express individualism or collective solidarity, whether in a family portrait or Women’s Day Marches in communities across the continent. Finally, a link between imaging and fashion surfaces in each section of the exhibition. From formal portraiture to visual arts to ubiquitous African fashion calendars to street style photos shared by cell-phone, it is clear that representations of fashion have always been a nuanced form of communication.
Fashion subtly communicates about place, heritage, and belonging through such means as appropriation, pastiche, and revival. Throughout the exhibition, African-print fashions are considered to be creative responses to key historical moments and empowering projections about Africa’s future.
About the Exhibition
“It All Starts with Cloth” addresses the history of African-print textiles, originally inspired by batik or wax-resist cloth from Indonesia. A dense grid of more than 60 cloths manufactured in Europe, Africa, and Asia evokes the vibrating colors and designs stocked in open-air markets and cloth shops across the African continent. A visual timeline of production across these regions outlines the history of the cloth trade in West and Central Africa from the 1800s to the present. Archival photographs and dramatic film footage of the Vlisco factory in operation transport audiences to the production of cloth in the Netherlands.
“Portraits in Print” leaves behind the brightly colored world of African-print fashion and enters an intimate black-and-white space of memory. A gallery introduces four photographers from Africa’s “golden age” of black-and-white photography in the 1960s and 1970s: Francis K. Honny (Ghana, 1914–1998); Jacques Toussele (Cameroon, 1935–2017); Omar Ly (Senegal, 1943–2016); and Mory Bamba (b. Mali, 1949). Their photography studios in newly independent West African countries provided a platform for an ascending middle class to see themselves and be seen by one another. The portraits are indicative of a historical moment when local African-print ensemble styles gained new significance as expressions of national and Pan-African pride and identity.
“Regional Styles, Fashion Preferences” takes an in-depth look at localized contemporary African-print fashion whereby stylish dress is a feature of daily life. Ensembles on view from Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal reflect an array of styles, all of them customized and individually made to order. This section presents a case study from Kumasi, Ghana to illustrate the interactive commissioning process between seamstresses or tailors and their fashion-conscious clientele. The bold patterns of the cloth engineered with subtle and striking variations in style reveal the ingenuity and flair of regional designers.
“New Directions” bridges regional cultures with transnational art and fashion networks, beginning with African-print styles on global runways in Paris, New York, Dakar, and other cities. Designers in this section include Titi Ademola (b. London, based in Ghana), Ituen Bassey (b. Nigeria), Afua Dabanka (b. Germany, based in Ghana), Lisa Folawiyo (b. Nigeria), Adama Amanda Ndiaye (b. Democratic Republic of the Congo, based in Senegal), Alexis Temomanin (b. Côte d’Ivoire), Gilles Touré (b. Côte d’Ivoire), and Patricia Waota (b. Côte d’Ivoire). Ensembles on view feature full-length gowns and men’s blazers, metallic wax print, and architectural pleating and boning—all of which harmoniously marry the drape of the fabric with the strategic construction of print patterns for stunning results.
Juxtaposed with these glamorous designs are contemporary works by photographers and other visual artists who incorporate print-cloth imagery to convey evocative messages about heritage, hybridity, displacement, and aspiration.
Members of the media and invited special guests are invited to preview the exhibition from 5:30-7 PM on Thursday October 4 at Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road in Charlotte. Light refreshments, wine, and beer will be served. RSVP to Leigh.Dyer@mintmuseum.org.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated volume generously funded by the R. L. Shep Endowment Fund at the Fowler Museum. The publication includes essays authored by exhibition co-curators Suzanne Gott, Kristyne S. Loughran, Betsy D. Quick, and Leslie W. Rabine with additional essays contributed by Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Boatema Boateng, M. Amah Edoh, Helen Elands, Anne Grosfilley, Karen Tranberg-Hansen, Helen Jennings, Sandra Klopper, Stephan F. Miescher, Hansi Momodu-Gordon, John Picton, Elisha P. Renne, Victoria L. Rovine, Ken Aïcha Sy, and Nina Sylvanus. It is on sale for $40 in both locations of the Mint Museum stores.
African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style is organized by the Fowler Museum at UCLA in association with Vlisco Netherlands B.V. It is guest curated by Suzanne Gott with Kristyne S. Loughran, Betsy D. Quick, and Leslie W. Rabine. In Charlotte, Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design, & Fashion, is the project curator. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts with the additional support of R. L. Shep, DutchCulture, and Pasadena Art Alliance.
The exhibition is presented in Charlotte by PNC Financial Services with generous additional support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary, Wells Fargo Private Bank, and Moore & Van Allen.
ABOUT THE FOWLER MUSEUM
The Fowler Museum at UCLA explores global arts and cultures with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas—past and present. The Fowler enhances understanding of world cultures through dynamic exhibitions, publications, and public programs, informed by interdisciplinary approaches and the perspectives of the cultures represented. Also featured is the work of international contemporary artists presented within the complex frameworks of politics, culture, and social action.
|Lekan Jeyifo and Walé Oyéjidé, Johannesburg 2081 A.D., Africa 2081 A.D. series, 2014; Digital print. Courtesy Ikiré Jones.|
MAINFRAME will remain on view through October 19 with these hours:
Wednesdays: 5-9 PM
Saturdays: 11 AM-6 PM
Sundays: 1-5 PM
The Young Affiliates of the Mint (the “YAMs”) announce their Third Annual Juried Art Show,
MAINFRAME, a participatory compilation of works that explore the role of technology, will host an
opening night celebration from 7 – 10 PM on Thursday, September 20 in Mint Museum Uptown’s
Level 5 expansion space.
Opening night is open to the public and will serve as an opportunity for the show’s jurors, featured
artists, and guests to view and discuss the interactive pieces on display. Opening night will include a
DJ, cash bar, and a photo booth with the opportunity to pose with some of your favorite nostalgic
The YAMs distinguished panel of jurors, Lia Newman, Curator of Director/Curator of the Davidson
College Art Galleries; Ivan Toth Depeña, an Charlotte-based new media artist; and Kelly McChesney,
Public Art Director of the city of Raleigh and Director of Lump, a non-profit alternative art space in
Raleigh, North Carolina; selected 18 talented artists to feature for this year’s exhibition. The featured
artists include: Jeffrey Barninger, Chris Clamp, Meredith Connelly, Travis Donavan, Caitlin and
Misha, Cynthia Hua, Andrew Leventis, Alex McKenzie, Joy Meyer, Leah Mulligan, Daniel Pillis, David
Sackett, Thomas Schmidt, Lydia See, Jordan Vinyard, and Christina Weisner.
The artists’ work exposing technological devices and developments since the dawn of the mainframe
computer will be on display in Uptown until October 17, 2018 during Mint Museum hours on
Wednesday & Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays. MAINFRAME is the Third Annual Young Affiliates of
the Mint Art Show, following the 2016 inaugural exhibition, 80×80: An Art Show, heralded as the best
Charlotte exhibition of 2016 by Creative Loafing , and the 2017 art show, GENDERED, drawing in
over 2500 attendees for a politically and culturally relevant exhibition.
MAINFRAME’s opening night is part of the Grand Re-Opening Celebration for Mint Museum Uptown. The celebration continues throughout the weekend, with Friday bringing Mint to Move Cultural Dance Night and performances of the vertical aerial dance “Perspective” by Caroline Calouche & Co., and Saturday bringing a live mural painting from local artists Owl + Arko, live music, more performances of “Perspective,” cash bar and food carts. More details and schedule at mintmuseum.org/events. For more information about MAINFRAME or to contribute as an individual or corporate sponsor, visit youngaffliates.org/artshow or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday September 17 update: All grand re-opening activities are now scheduled THIS WEEK! Join us for the YAMs’ opening party for MAINFRAME on Thursday Sept. 20, 7-11 PM; “Perspective” aerial dances by Caroline Calouche & Co. on Friday & Saturday, Sept. 21 & 22; Mint to Move Cultural Dance Night Friday, 7-11:30 PM; and a FREE community day this Saturday, 11 AM-6 PM! More details at mintmuseum.org/events.
Sunday September 16 update, 5 PM ET: Both locations of the museum will be closed to most staff on Monday September 17, and the scheduled Board of Trustees meeting is postponed. NEW UPDATE: The Delhom Service League has decided to postpone its Tuesday program at Mint Museum Randolph. A new date will be scheduled soon. We will continue to monitor the situation and post any relevant updates here.
Friday September 14 update, 9:45 AM ET: The Mint Museum plans to open its galleries today, 11 AM-6 PM ET, but will close to the public on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16 to ensure the safety of the public, our visitors, and staff. Check back here for further updates.
Thursday September 13 update, 12:15 PM ET: The Mint Museum’s galleries remain open today (Thursday) observing normal hours, and at this time, the museum plans to open galleries normally at 11 a.m. ET on Friday. Assuming nothing changes, the Mint is postponing its originally scheduled plans to extend Friday operating hours at Mint Museum Uptown, and will close at 6 p.m. ET. (Beginning on Friday Sept. 21, weather permitting, Mint Museum Uptown will be open to the public until 9 p.m. each Friday). Of course check back here or on our Facebook or Twitter accounts before heading out, and please stay safe!
Wednesday September 12, 1:30 PM ET UPDATE: The Mint Museum staff hopes to announce an entire new schedule for all events listed as part of our previously scheduled lineup for September 14/15/16, but we will wait until after the hurricane passes to publicly post most dates. Right now our focus is on ensuring the public and our own staff and art collection remain safe in the days to come. The museum’s public hours of operation will be updated day to day in the coming days. New event dates will be announced as soon as weather conditions permit.
Wednesday September 12, 8 AM ET PREVIOUS POST: The Mint Museum’s staff has been working diligently since the weekend to monitor forecasts and evaluate all of the many activities scheduled for the public this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Most of them will be re-scheduled to later dates, so please keep an eye on this space for details, as we expect things to be confirmed soon. (Hint: We hope you are keeping Sept. 20, 21, and 22 open).
If the museum can safely operate, we will continue to observe our scheduled operating hours this weekend. Those decisions will be made day-to-day. And assuming the museum is open, we do expect local muralists Owl + Arko (pictured here) to be starting their mural, which must be finished in time for the community-wide Talking Walls Charlotte mural festival, coming up October 10-13. They’ll be inside the museum periodically between now and then working on the wall just inside Mint Museum Uptown’s main entry, so please plan more than one visit to check their progress.