On view through January 3, 2021 | Mint Museum Uptown
As we retreated to our homes in the midst of a global pandemic, perspectives changed and new views evolved. The usual became unusual. We saw familiar things with new eyes. New Days, New Works celebrates these renewed perspectives for objects that we surround ourselves with each day and never-before-seen works of art from The Mint Museum’s collections, including a number of gifts from individual and corporate donors.
More than 80 works of art — including photography and sculptures from international artists, vivid paintings, fashion accessories and stunning ceramics — evoke emotions and a new perspective for a new day.
The exhibition is a juxtaposition of color, material, time and place, from the recently acquired Arco by Puerto Rican artist Cristina Cordova to the strikingly colorful acrylic painting With Side, With Shoulder by Brooklyn-based artist Summer Wheat to Pilar Albarracín’s Ceiling of Offerings, a large-scale installation made up of hundreds of colorful flamenco dresses that hang from the ceiling.
New Days, New Works is organized by The Mint Museum and kicks off a year-long celebration of gifts in the Mint’s collections — American, contemporary, craft, design and fashion, and decorative arts — that represent the broad diversity of artwork that defines The Mint Museum.
Each object in New Days, New Works celebrates our relationships with individual donors, corporations, foundations and support groups that are all part of The Mint Museum community. We appreciate their generosity and the collection’s presence in our lives, even more after being away for so long.
You are part of our community, too, and we are profoundly grateful that you have joined us today. Welcome back.
CHARLOTTE DEBUTANTE CLUB
Established in 1950, the Charlotte Debutante Club immediately identified the Mint as the recipient of all its fundraising support that inaugural year and it has continued to contribute annually ever since. It has made numerous acquisitions possible, including the Leo Twiggs 2018 commission Conversation that memorialized the 2015 fatal shootings at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Most recently, they provided the funds to purchase this photograph by Ken West, the People’s Choice prize in the recent Coined in the South exhibition sponsored by another devoted Mint support group, The Young Affiliates of the Mint.
WELLS FARGO FOUNDATION WOMEN ARTISTS FUND
Through the years, the Wells Fargo Foundation has provided significant exhibition, acquisition, education and programming underwriting support for The Mint Museum. The Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artists Fund helps American museums acquire works by contemporary American female artists for their permanent collections. The Fund seeks to help change the inequitable representation of women artists in the collections of art museums. A Public Library of Science data survey of the permanent collections of 18 prominent art museums in the U.S. found that out of over 10,000 artists, 87% are male and only 13% are female. This work by contemporary American artist Summer Wheat was acquired with generous funding provided by the Wells Fargo Foundation Women Artists Fund.
Many nineteenth-century English potteries continued the practice of their eighteenth- century forebears by making salt-glazed, brown stoneware vessels for middle-class consumers. London-area potteries, such as those in Mortlake and Lambeth, specialized in “hunting” jugs and mugs, drinking vessels with applied, molded reliefs of stag hunts. Other potteries likewise used applied reliefs to decorate their wares. “Topers,” or drinkers, were a popular theme, especially on objects meant to hold alcohol; such vessels were often found in alehouses and inns. In the 1830s, stoneware potters in Derbyshire began molding gin flasks to represent popular heroes of the day. Many English potteries further embellished their wares by partially dipping them in a chocolate brown glaze. All these efforts heightened the visual appeal of these relatively simple and affordable stoneware forms.
The examples in this case are part of a 2019 gift to The Mint Museum from Nicholas Johnson, an avid British ceramics collector who lives in the Boston area. Born and raised in Devon, England, Johnson began collecting while studying psychology at University College, London and frequenting London’s street markets whenever he had a chance. He continued collecting in the decades that followed and even after he and his wife moved to the United States
CAROL COLE LEVIN
Artist and collector Carol Cole Levin lives in Greensboro in a home filled with feminist art: not just work made by women, but work that explores the specific political and personal struggles women across society face. Levin’s own art, working under the name Carol Cole, includes sculpture, works on paper, and installations that often incorporate stitching and crochet, techniques usually dismissed as “women’s work” to pass the time and keep idle hands busy; but Cole, like Bass, turns them into powerful weapons of critique and contemplation. As a philanthropist, Levin supports many national organizations, with a particular focus on UNC institutions, including the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Ackland Art Museum, where she has also served on the board of directors.
LORNE LASSITER AND GARY FERRARO
Lorne Lassiter was the founder and owner of the Workout! Studios before transitioning into non-profit management as the Charlotte Project Director for the State Department program, Business for Russia. She has been the Executive Director of the Mayor’s International Cabinet and of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design (MMC+D) Founders’ Circle. She has served as Board Chairman for Charlotte Sister Cities, Vice Chair of the American Craft Council, and GreenHill for NC Board. Lassiter currently serves on several Advisory Boards. Gary Ferraro, Ph.D., a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at UNC Charlotte, has been a Fulbright Scholar in Swaziland (1979–80) and the Czech Republic (2003) and has served twice as a visiting professor of anthropology in the Semester at Sea Program, an around-the-world floating university. The author of 26 editions of six anthropology textbooks, he has served on the Board of the Founders’ Circle of the MMC+D and STARworks, in Star, NC. The Ferraro-Lassiter collecting team has been fortunate that their careers have taken them around the world and into the studios and homes of many wonderful artists whose work gives them great joy and memories.
Carol Gorelick and her husband, Shelton, were enthusiastic and generous patrons of The Mint Museum for many years. They were founding members of the museum’s Crown Society and charter members of the Founders’ Circle, a Mint affiliate. Carol was an active member of the Delhom Service League, another Mint affiliate, as well as the Charlotte Ceramic Circle. She was also well known in Charlotte’s cultural community as a passionate, keen-eyed collector of contemporary craft, particularly North Carolina pottery. Perhaps less known is that before she developed this ceramics passion, she collected nineteenth-century majolica. In 2018, she donated her majolica collection to the Mint, examples of which are here on view.
Originating in England, majolica is earthenware that has been red once and then dipped in, or painted with, thick colored lead glazes and then red again. The palette often includes bright jewel tones, like ruby red, emerald green, and sapphire blue. The objects themselves are typically molded, with shapes often deriving from naturalistic forms, but utilized in wildly inventive ways—like a sh-shaped ewer, for instance. Herbert Minton (1793–1858) introduced his majolica at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, and the acclaim it received led eventually to other firms, both in England and America, producing their own versions.