Groundbreaking new exhibition “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design” to open September 1

Exhibition examining trends in woodworking will greet visitors to the Democratic National Convention at Mint Museum Uptown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 28, 2012) – Featuring more than 60 installations, sculptures, furniture, and objects, Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design explores the most cutting-edge conceptual and technical trends in woodworking today. Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and debuting September 1, 2012, at Mint Museum Uptown and running through January 27, 2013, the exhibition emphasizes the ways artists, designers, and craftspeople have incorporated modernist approaches and strategies into woodworking—deconstructing vessel shapes, playing on the relationship between function and form, and utilizing woodturning and furniture techniques in the creation of sculpture. The works, all created since 2000, challenge traditional applications of wood within the design and craft worlds, and exemplify the wide-ranging, frequently unexpected approaches to the medium by contemporary artists and designers. The exhibition will subsequently be on view at the Museum of Arts and Design from March through July, 2013.

“It is very important for the museum to present world-class special exhibitions to complement our internationally-regarded permanent collection during the Democratic National Convention,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design is a fascinating look at the way artists and designers use traditional woodworking techniques to create startlingly fresh work.  Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, in consultation with the Mint, we are honored to premiere the exhibition in Charlotte.  On behalf of the Mint, I express my gratitude to Moore & Van Allen PLLC and the Founders’ Circle for their generous support of Against the Grain.”

The exhibition features 57 artists and designers from around the world, including influential sculptors Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtney Smith, and Martin Puryear, who will display one of his furniture pieces for the first time; installation artists Gary Carsley and Alison Elizabeth Taylor; designers Maarten Baas, Sebastian Errazuriz, and Pablo Reinoso; and studio wood artists Wendell Castle, Andrew Early, and Hunt Clark, among others.

“Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design aligns beautifully with the Mint’s commitment to innovative 21st-century creative expression from a variety of cultural perspectives.  Moreover, the museum’s collection is very strong in both turned wood and studio furniture, most notably, the Jane and Arthur Mason Collection, as well as recent major acquisitions; Joseph Walsh’s Enignum from the Mint’s Project Ten Ten Ten series, and Silas Kopf’s Who’s Chicken, Now? will both be on view during the exhibition,” said Annie Carlano, the Mint’s Director of Craft + Design. “Beyond museum walls, Against the Grain has a particular connection to our community and region.  The American furniture industry is centered here, and until just a few months ago, the Furniture Society was based in Asheville. Designers and makers live amongst us.”

“Against the Grain is a complete immersion into the seemingly limitless world of contemporary woodworking, an imaginative experience where function is subsumed by fantastical forms and textures,” said Holly Hotchner, Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum of Arts and Design. “The creators featured in the exhibition exemplify the innovative practice that MAD is dedicated to supporting and bringing to the fore. Their work defies clear categorization and draws together traditionally disparate themes, ideas, and techniques into stunning and surprising works of art.”

Organized by MAD Curator Lowery Stokes Sims, Against the Grain is part of MAD’s ongoing “Materials & Process” series, dedicated to exploring contemporary innovations in traditional techniques and materials, and highlights the tremendous creative energy and fresh thinking that creators are bringing to wood today. “Wood is a ubiquitous material and a medium of basic function as well as tremendous versatility. In the last several decades, artists have truly begun to test its creative boundaries, expressing and expanding wood’s aesthetic and conceptual possibilities,” said Sims. “The artists featured in Against the Grain represent the forward-thinking approach that has spurred the medium’s renaissance.”

The featured works fall into seven thematic designations that encapsulate the breadth of creative production in wood. Many of the artists and designers are inspired by wood’s most natural state as trees, utilizing branches, logs, and planks and creating works that draw upon the wood’s grains, textures, and patterns. Others fuse a variety of wood elements together to create distinctly new visual forms, producing a more powerful experience than the individual parts might allow. Digital techniques have also transformed woodworking, allowing creators to manipulate materials and produce illusions that were previously impossible. The use of wood as a material to convey political and social content as well as humor and visual puns has also grown and been refined as artists experiment with the medium. Additionally, environmental issues will be woven throughout the exhibition as increased ecological consciousness is implicit in the work of all contemporary woodworkers.

Highlights from the exhibition include the following works:

• Mark Moskovitz’s fully-functional chest of drawers mimicking wood stockpiled for the winter exemplifies the type of camouflage and secret compartments that have long been an intriguing feature of furniture. His Facecord Chest, 2011, was inspired by the haphazard geometry of cordwood and the accidental poetry in its stacking.

• In Oddychająca, 2011, Ursula von Rydingsvard manipulates a field of flat 2-by-4 beams into an organic form that gently curves out into space.

• Designers Ian Spencer and Cairn Young are presenting their Roccapina V chair, 2012, a product of the Yard Sale Project, which produces furniture that combines computer-aided design and traditional construction techniques. The result is a richly patterned surface resembling a volumetric quilt.

• Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s installations of illusionistic marquetry, which recreate architectural elements of abandoned houses—including linoleum floors or painted and papered walls whose many layers have been worn away after years of water damage.

• Maarten Baas’ “smoked” version of a Marc Newson chair, which has been torched and rendered nonfunctional and yet maintains lyricism and elegance in its new sculptural form.

• A chest of drawers by artist Courtney Smith, whose functionality has been subverted by the insertion of arbitrary rectangles and boxes of plywood. The resulting sculpture challenges ideas of structural integrity and authorship as Smith intrudes on existing design elements.

• Ai Weiwei’s 2008 evocation of a cluster of grapes in his eccentric assembling of ten simple Qing Dynasty stools, rendering the group useless.

• Gary Carsley’s cabinet installation is part of an ongoing project of photographing parks and landscapes all over the world, printing them on vinyl, and then applying them to walls and IKEA furniture. He plays with our sense of space as the print blends the wall and furniture together into one landscape environment.

• Cameroon-born artist Barthélémy Toguo’s large-scale stamp, hewed out of a block of wood and engraved with “Who is the true terrorist?,” taps into the tradition of the woodblock-printed image and evokes the political paranoia infecting recent international relations.

• Chilean designer Sebastian Errazuriz, whose Porcupine Cabinet, 2011, is a candidate in the Mint’s “Vote for Art” project. It is one of six specially-chosen works by some of the world’s top artists and designers that will be on display throughout Mint Museum Uptown. Museum visitors will cast ballots for their three favorite works. Visitors to the museum during the Democratic National Convention will be offered ballots from September 1-7; voting opens to the general public October 1 through November 9.

MEDIA PREVIEW
All media are invited to preview the exhibition at Mint Museum Uptown from 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursday August 30 (curator’s tour and refreshments provided) or during a media drop-in from 3:30 – 5 p.m. on Friday August 31. In addition, admission is FREE to all members of the media throughout public operating hours during the Democratic National Convention (reservation required). See more information about operating hours at mintmuseum.org; email leigh.dyer@mintmuseum.org to RSVP.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design is organized the Museum of Arts and Design and curated by Lowery Stokes Sims, Charles Bronfman International Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, assisted by Elizabeth Edwards Kirrane, Assistant Curator at MAD and project manager for the exhibition. The exhibition has been curated at The Mint Museum by Annie Carlano, Director of Craft + Design. Against the Grain is made possible at The Mint Museum through generous support from Founders’ Circle Ltd. and Moore & Van Allen PLLC.

The exhibition tour includes The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina (September 1, 2012 – January 27, 2013), Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York (March – July, 2013), and other locations to be announced.

The catalogue, published by Monacelli Press, includes essays by Curator Lowery Stokes Sims, who writes on the conceptual framework of the exhibition; Assistant Curator Elizabeth Edwards Kirrane, who chronicles how history, environmental issues, and politics have predicated the use of various woods; and noted writer on art and craft Suzanne Ramljak, who will examine the enduring preoccupation with wood in human cultures. It is available in the Mint Museum Shops for $45.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN

The Museum of Arts and Design explores the blur zone between art, design, and craft today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the artisanal to digital. The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum’s mission is education. The Museum’s dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft, and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.

For more information, please contact:

Sophie Henderson, Museum of Arts and Design, 212.299.7762, sophie.henderson@madmuseum.org,  or
Alina Sumajin, Resnicow Schroeder Associates, 212.671.5155, asumajin@resnicowschroeder.com.

Photo opportunity: Internationally acclaimed artist at work inside Mint Museum Uptown

Spanish artist Nacho Carbonell is assembling one of six works set to become part of the Mint’s “Vote for Art: Your View, Your Vote” project

Photographers and reporters are invited to Mint Museum Uptown beginning Thursday, July 26 to capture internationally-acclaimed artist Nacho Carbonell in the atrium assembling his work Wood Branches, Diversity n. 17 (prototype), 2010. Carbonell will be assisted by Paloma Castaño Sanchez, an emerging fashion and textile artist. They are scheduled to complete the work by Monday July 30.

Reporters and photographers are welcome to visit to observe the assembly in progress, but must schedule appointments beforehand with Public Relations Manager Leigh Dyer at 704.337.2009 or Leigh.Dyer@mintmuseum.org. The artists will be working on Thursday July 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., on Friday and Saturday July 27-28 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and on Sunday July 29 from 1 – 5 p.m. (Click here for more information.)

Carbonell’s work is one of six to be featured in the Mint’s “Vote for Art” project, a one-of-a-kind election taking place within the walls of Mint Museum Uptown.

“Vote for Art” is aimed at educating the public on both the electoral process and the process of building a world-class collection for Charlotte and the region. Six specially-chosen works of art will be on view in the museum, and the public can cast votes on their three favorites. The museum will acquire the three winners and add them to its permanent collection. The other five works will be installed within the museum in coming weeks.

Voting opens on September 1 to coincide with the beginning of the Democratic National Convention – and to allow the DNC delegates the first opportunities to cast votes, as they do during the nation’s real-life electoral process. Mint Museum Uptown, which is normally closed to the public on Mondays, will be open FREE all day on September 3, Labor Day, to coincide with CarolinaFest, a day-long party for the Democratic National Convention visitors to be held along Tryon Street. All visitors to the museum through September 7 will be offered ballots and the opportunity to cast votes. Voting then closes after the DNC and reopens October 1, running through November 9.

Election Day, November 6, will be a free admission day from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. so any interested voters can come to the museum to vote for art after they travel to the polls to vote for their candidates (the museum is always open for free from 5-9 p.m. each Tuesday). And unlike the Board of Elections, the Mint does not require voters to be 18 – children will be offered their own opportunities to cast ballots.

A committee consisting of curators and representatives of three of the museum’s affiliate groups nominated the six works of art. The Founders’ Circle, Mint Museum Auxiliary, and Young Affiliates of the Mint will collaborate on the project’s culminating event, the Ballot Ball, on November 9. At that gala, to be held at Mint Museum Uptown, the winners will be unveiled. Ticket registration for the Ballot Ball will begin September 1.

The Mint is in the process of discussing sponsorship of the project with local and national corporations. Each sponsor will contribute a sum toward the purchase of the works, and will be recognized on a large banner in front of Mint Museum Uptown, which will appear prior to the DNC and remain on view through the Ballot Ball, allowing the corporations to receive a lucrative marketing opportunity in addition to contributing toward this philanthropic project. Sponsors will also be permanently recognized within the museum as the donors of the works of art. Those interested in becoming a sponsor can contact May Nixon at May.Nixon@mintmuseum.org.

During the project, voters must be inside the museum to cast a vote; no online voting will be allowed, although an overview of the project is available on mintmuseum.org and visitors may use the website’s +INSPIRING button to show support for their favorites.

Only one ballot will be permitted per visit, but patrons can make multiple visits throughout the run of the project if they wish to cast multiple votes for their favorite candidates. For non-members of the museum, admission must be paid for each visit unless it is during the museum’s scheduled free hours. (See a complete news release about “Vote for Art” and descriptions of all six works of art here: http://www.mintmuseum.org/news/vote-for-art-your-view-your-vote)

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

Nacho Carbonell. Spanish. 1980-

Wood Branches, Diversity n. 17 (prototype), 2010 (click to view image)

Metal armature, wood, branches, papier-mâché

On loan from Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Milan, Italy.

 

Extreme experimentation with materials and ideas is central to the work of Nacho Carbonell (known internationally as simply Nacho). The distinct gravel-, thorn-, or branch-covered surfaces of the combined desk forms in the Diversity series suggest a demographically diverse neighborhood and made Nacho the star of the 2010 Salone di Mobile in Milan. The chairs are handmade by a small team of assistants using laborious processes in Nacho’s studio in Eindhoven, The Netherlands; he is assembling Diversity n.17 inside Mint Museum Uptown himself. Nacho graduated from the Spanish University of Cardenal Herrera-CEU and the prestigious Design Academy, Eindhoven. He was nominated Designer of the Year in 2009 by the Design Museum, London, and designated as Designer of the Future by the Design Miami / Basel committee later that same year.

“With a reputation as an innovator in his use of various media, techniques, and as a provocateur par excellence, Nacho is one of the hottest young designers of the moment,” said Annie Carlano, the Mint’s director of craft and design.

High-resolution images of all six “Vote for Art” works are available on request.

The Mint Museum announces participation in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Museum staffers will design and install a custom creation in a deserving local family’s home

December 2012 update: At right is an image of the completed family photo timeline featuring graphic design work by The Mint Museum and designer Elyse Frederick, to be featured on the December 17, 2012 broadcast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The Mint Museum is assisting in the local effort to give a deserving family an “extreme home makeover” as part of ABC’s Emmy award-winning television reality show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

As the show’s producers prepared to select a winning family from the Charlotte area to receive a new home, they approached The Mint Museum in recent weeks to ask for assistance creating and installing a graphic design project involving family photos that will be a focal point of the family’s new living room. Mint Museum Graphic Designer Elyse Frederick and Design & Installation Director Kurt Warnke are leading this effort with support from additional team members. Charlotte company Kenny Color Lab (www.kennycolor.com) agreed to donate the necessary materials and services to produce the museum’s design. “Kenny Color Lab is thrilled to have an opportunity to help a deserving local family and collaborate with The Mint Museum on this project,” said Kenny Flippin, the company’s vice president.

The work will be installed during the build, which is taking place in Lincolnton December 11 through December 17 and is being spearheaded by local builder Bellamy Homes.

Museum staffers were touched by the winning local family’s story after learning they have taken in dozens of local foster children over the years, and recently adopted a group of five siblings. The museum’s contribution to the home will incorporate photos of the family to honor their love and generosity. The creation of the project will be documented and displayed at the museum’s website, mintmuseum.org, after it is completed. The build is scheduled to air in December 2012 with a two-hour special broadcast on ABC.

“The show’s design producer was impressed with our institution and felt confident that we would have the in-house talent needed to design and install this project,” said Hillary Cooper, Communications and Media Relations Director for the Mint. “This is another shining example of the museum giving back to the community in innovative and meaningful ways.”

Several finalists in the greater Charlotte area were considered for the build, and all were deemed worthy causes. The winning family, the Friday family of Lincolnton, received a knock on their door on Sunday, December 11, from team leader Ty Pennington and the show’s design team. The project has recruited more than 3,000 volunteers, and will be completed in one week. All products and labor are being donated by partnering trades and suppliers.

The Mint Museum Launches Exclusive New Fashion & Design Book

The Mint Museum Launches Exclusive New Fashion & Design Book

Oscar buzz was in the air on Monday as more than 420 people attended a celebration in honor of the upcoming 40th anniversary of The Mint Museum’s Historic Costume and Fashionable Dress Collection. The Fall EnrichMINT Forum: Passion for Fashion, hosted by The Mint Museum Auxiliary, served as a launch for a first-of-its kind book: Oscar de la Renta: Fashion & Design at The Mint Museum. The specially produced, commemorative publication documents the legendary designer’s 2011 visit to Charlotte to benefit The Mint Museum.

At the celebration, Jay Everette, Community Affairs Manager of Wells Fargo’s Social Responsibility Group and a member of the Mint’s board of trustees, announced that The Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded The Mint Museum a $15,000 Community Catalyst Grant to support the museum’s Historical Costume and Fashionable Dress Collection acquisition fund. The grant was made in honor of the members of The Mint Museum Auxiliary.  Funds from the grant will be used to acquire contemporary fashion from Oscar de la Renta’s collection.

The keynote speaker at the book launch event in The Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium of The Mint Museum Uptown was Jack Alexander, longtime producer of de la Renta’s runway shows, and he gave lots of behind-the-scenes insights into the production of the April 2011 fashion show at the Mint (it turns out the homegrown Charlotte models were a lot better than the imports from Atlanta!).

Oscar de la Renta: Fashion & Design at The Mint Museum is now on sale for $40 at museum gift shops at both the Uptown and Randolph Road locations. The hardcover book consists of 80 pages of color photos of the designer’s eye-catching fashions. All proceeds from book sales will benefit The Mint Museum.

The initiative is the latest twist in a wildly successful fundraising effort pairing Oscar de la Renta with The Mint Museum Auxiliary. De la Renta’s visit to Charlotte in April as part of the Auxiliary’s annual Room to Bloom celebration generated a record-shattering $400,000 in fundraising toward The Mint Museum and its programs.

The Mint Museum acquires major work of art: Sheila Hicks’ May I Have This Dance?

Through generous gift by Target Corporation

The Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts has acquired Sheila  Hicks’ monumental bas relief, May I Have This Dance?, through a generous gift by Target Corporation. Originally  commissioned by Target for their lobby headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2003, May I Have This Dance? has  been recently reimagined, and reconfigured, for exhibitions in Paris and Philadelphia, each metamorphosis informed by
the particular architectural setting.

With a redesign of Target Corporation headquarters, a search for a new, permanent home for the work began in earnest in 2010. Target consulted Sheila Hicks regarding where May I Have This Dance? might permanently reside. Some of the largest and most important art museums in the country were considered for this major gift.

With the new progressive initiative of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, a newly opened facility, new leadership, and a renewed focus on world-class acquisitions, exhibitions, and educational programs, The Mint Museum presented a unique
and compelling case. The Mint committed to install the work for an extended period of time in the Robert Haywood  Morrison Atrium, the largest public space and principal gathering area of the new museum uptown. In this prime location, Hicks’ powerful sculpture will command tremendous visual impact and set the tone for visitors’ experiences as they enter the museum. Similar to the original architectural setting for May I Have This Dance? at Target, The Mint’smMorrison Atrium provides a distinct opportunity to honor the integrity of the artist’s original intent and design.

“The Mint Museum is deeply grateful for this exceptional gift from Target Corporation,” said Dr, Kathleen V. Jameson, President and CEO. “Our permanent collection offers a strong complement to the themes and craftsmanship present in May I Have This Dance? The Mint Museum and Target Corporation also share the same core values of integrity in all we do, a commitment to excellence and making art and arts education accessible to diverse audiences throughout our
respective communities. We feel extremely proud and privileged to share this work with our city, region, and our national and international visitors.”

Annie Carlano, Director of Craft + Design, states, “While Sheila is a resident of Paris, she is a citizen of the world. The nomadic nature of May I Have This Dance? parallels the extensive global travels that have influenced and inspired Sheila’s work. Sheila finds innovation in tradition and contemporary expression in the hand-made. May I Have This
Dance?
is the apotheosis of Hicks’ monumental bas relief creations. Transcendental in both concept and form, this ebullient installation was inspired by the natural light soaked space of the Mint’s atrium, the integration of the outside sky scape and the interior, the energetic vertical sweep to the high ceilings, and the modernity of the building materials and furniture. In fact, Sheila commented that standing in the atrium, reminded her of being inside Le Corbusier’s chapel
(Notre Dame du Haut) in Ronchamp, France.  It is not surprising to me that her initial ruminations about the reconfiguration, of May I Have This Dance?, for the west wall were about shapes and patterns from the natural world, for example streaking lightning bolts and a circling hurricane.”

The official unveiling of May I Have This Dance? will occur in unison with the preview of Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, an exhibition organized by The Addison Gallery of American Art, the art museum of Phillips Academy. This comprehensive exhibition, running 1 October 2011 through 29 January 2012, at The Mint Museum Uptown, marks the first retrospective devoted to this pioneering figure. Sheila Hicks is an artist who builds with color and thinks with line. From her earliest
work of the late 1950s to the present, she has crossed the boundaries of painting, sculpture, design, drawing, and woven form, and has been a critical force in redefining the domains of contemporary art-making.  While challenging the relationship of fine arts to commercial arts and studio practice to site-specific commissions, Hicks has, above all,
re-imagined the profound, vital connection of artist to artisan.

The Sheila Hicks: FiftyYears exhibition and the long-term installation of May I Have This Dance? will serve as important highlights of The Mint Museum’s 75th anniversary celebration beginning this October

Mint Museum Uptown to Host Seminal Symposium on British Ceramics

Event marks closing week of landmark ceramics exhibition

A public symposium organized by the Mint Museum of Craft +Design will be part of a closing celebration for the inaugural exhibition, Contemporary British Studio
Ceramics: The Grainer Collection
during its final week on view. Featuring innovative discussions by leading international art scholars and artists on important trends and developments in contemporary British ceramics, the Symposium will be held Thursday, 10 March, 3:00-7:00 p.m. at the Mint Museum
Uptown (at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street) and is free with museum admission.

Drawn from the collection of Diane and Marc Grainer of suburban Washington, D.C., the landmark exhibition Contemporary British Studio Ceramics is the first to focus exclusively on this subject in the United States and Great Britain. The Symposium will feature talks by art scholar and critic Tanya Harrod
(keynote speaker); artist and scholar Julian Stair; artist Neil Brownsword; and Mint Museum Director of Craft + Design Annie Carlano. Following the talks, there will be a panel discussion moderated by Carlano featuring Harrod, Stair, and Brownsword, as well as Mint Museum Curator of Decorative Arts Brian
Gallagher and ceramic artist Kate Malone.

The schedule of events is: 1:00 p.m. – Exhibition walk-through and discussion with Diane and Marc Grainer in the Mint

Museum of Craft + Design special exhibition galleries 2:00 p.m. – Book signing by the authors of the exhibition catalogue in the Robert Haywood

Morrison Atrium
3:00 p.m. – Symposium begins in the James B. Duke Auditorium
4:30 p.m. – Break and reception hosted by The Founders’ Circle in the Atrium
5:30 p.m. – Symposium resumes; panel discussion begins
7:00 p.m. – Symposium ends

Keynote speaker Tanya Harrod is the principal essayist of the exhibition catalogue, Contemporary British Studio Ceramics: The Grainer Collection (Yale University Press: 2010), and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art in London. She is co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft and author of the award-winning study, The Crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century, and the forthcoming biography, Michael Cardew: A Life (both published by Yale University Press). Harrod will offer a survey of British
studio ceramics over the past 20 years with a focus on the “Englishness” of ceramic production.

Ceramic artist and scholar Julian Stair is the recipient of the 2004 European Achievement Award from the World Crafts Council and a regular contributor to craft journals and other prestigious publications. He holds a Ph.D. in Critical Writing on English Studio Pottery from the Royal College of Art
in London. Stair will be speaking on the topic of funerary ware, from urns to sarcophagi, related to his most recent work, which includes both thrown and hand-built vessels.

Born and raised near Stoke-on-Trent, ceramic artist Neil Brownsword began working at the Josiah Wedgwood factory at age 16. He studied ceramics at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, and received his Ph.D. from Brunel University in London following the completion of his groundbreaking series, Collaging History. Brownsword will be speaking on the development of his contemporary ceramic
installation art in historically significant Stoke-on-Trent.

Annie Carlano is the Director of Craft + Design at The Mint Museum and the exhibition curator of Contemporary British Studio Ceramics: The Grainer Collection. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and a master’s degree in art history from Università degli Studi in Florence, Italy. An internationally recognized scholar, Carlano has published and lectured on textiles, fashion, and decorative arts. Her recent books include Sleeping Around: The Bed
from Antiquity to Now
(University of Washington Press: 2006) and Contemporary British Studio Ceramics: The Grainer Collection. She will speak on the topic of collecting ceramics.

Brian Gallagher is the Curator of Decorative Arts at The Mint Museum and a graduate of the Bard Graduate Center in New York. Prior to joining the Mint, he served as Assistant Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Gallagher is a member of the
Indemnity Panel for Domestic Exhibitions at the National Endowment for the Arts and serves as a board
member of the American Ceramic Circle.

Born in London, ceramicist Kate Malone studied at Bristol Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. Known for her use of shapes inspired by natural forms and vivid crystalline glazes, this Barcelona-based artist is one of the most fearless innovators in the field of international studio ceramics. The Mint Museum of Craft + Design has commissioned Malone to create a ceramic work for the new Mint Museum Uptown as part of its Project Ten Ten Ten series. She will be the guest artist at the upcoming
10th Annual Mint Condition Gala sponsored by The Founders’ Circle.

Mint Museum of Craft + Designs Current Location Closes its Doors with a “Last Look”

Craft museum marks its move to the new Mint Museum Uptown with a farewell party

Charlotteans can enjoy their own “Night at the Museum” to bid farewell to the original location of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. The Mint Museum will invite the public for a final walk-through of the craft museum’s original location (220 North Tryon Street) at a “Last Look Friday” event, before relocating its collections to the new Mint Museum Uptown scheduled to open in October 2010. Enjoy a night of live entertainment, art activities and refreshments in an empty museum on Friday, March 5, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.

The celebration will honor the art collections and past exhibitions housed at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, and provide a sneak preview of new additions at the Mint Museum Uptown. Guests of all ages can participate in do-it-yourself art activities from sculpture to interactive photography sessions, observe artist demonstrations and dance to live music by The Swingin’ Richards.

Prior to the celebration, guests can participate in the Last Look Friday Photography Contest by submitting photographs of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. Photos will be judged by museum staff in the categories of “Most Artistic Image,” “Best Dressed Museum-Goers” or “Best Architectural Image,” with winners to be announced the evening of the event.  All submissions will be projected on a slideshow in the galleries. The public can submit photographs by uploading them to The Mint Museum’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mintmuseum) or by e-mailing them to elizabeth.isenhour@mintmuseum.org. The deadline for submissions is March 4 at midnight.

The Mint Museum’s expansion project includes the construction of a five-story facility in uptown Charlotte and the reinstallation of the historic Mint Museum Randolph. When the expansion is complete, The Mint Museum’s total combined square footage will grow by more than 60 percent, allowing more opportunities to showcase works from the permanent collection and better accommodate significant traveling exhibitions. The new Mint Museum Uptown will house the collections from the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, as well as significant collections of American art, contemporary art, and a selection of European art from the Mint Museum Randolph.

Mint Museum of Craft + Design to Close Temporarily in February

MMC+D collections prepare to move to new facility as part of Museum expansion

The Mint Museum of Craft + Design will close to the public on February 7, 2010 to prepare to move its collections to the new Mint Museum Uptown. Opening in October 2010, the Mint Museum Uptown will house the Mint Museum of Craft + Design collections, as well as significant collections of American Art, Contemporary Art and a selection of European Art in a new five-story, 145,000-square-foot facility located in the heart of Charlotte’s business district. The Mint Museum of Craft + Design Shop will remain open for several more months, with a firm closing date to be announced later this spring.

To celebrate the grand opening of the Mint Museum Uptown, the Mint Museum of Craft + Design has launched Project Ten Ten Ten, a series of commissions created especially for the new Mint Uptown galleries by 10 of the world’s most innovative craft and design artists. When the doors open in October, visitors will see spectacular works by glass artist/designer Danny Lane (United Kingdom), conceptual jewelry artist Ted Noten (The Netherlands), furniture maker/designer Joseph Walsh (Ireland) and fiber artist Hildur Bjarnadǿttir (Iceland). Equally striking commissions by Kawana Tetsunori, Kate Malone, Tom Joyce, Cristina Córdova, Susan Point and Ayala Serfaty are also being planned for the new facility.

The Mint Museum expansion includes the construction of a new building in uptown Charlotte and the reinstallation of the historic U.S. Mint facility on Randolph Road. When the expansion is complete, The Mint Museum’s total combined square footage will grow by more than 60 percent, allowing opportunities to showcase more works from the permanent collection and better accommodate significant traveling exhibitions.

The Mint Museum Uptown will be part of the new Wells Fargo Cultural Campus. In addition to the Mint, the completed campus will include the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the Knight Theater (housing the North Carolina Dance Theatre) and the Duke Energy Center. Following the grand opening of the Mint Museum Uptown, collections at the Mint Museum Randolph will be reinstalled with a fresh new vision. Galleries there will feature the Mint’s superb Ceramics, Art of the Ancient Americas, and Historic Costume and Fashionable Dress collections.

The Mint Museum Uptown is scheduled to open just one year prior to the Mint’s 75th anniversary. Designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston (design architect), Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals of Charlotte (architect of record), and George Sexton Associates of Washington, D.C. (museum consultant), the new facility will combine inspiring architecture with groundbreaking exhibitions to provide unparalleled art experiences for its visitors. The Museum expansion will provide larger and more flexible space to showcase the permanent collections and Mint-organized special exhibitions, as well as major touring exhibitions organized by other venues. The new facility will also house a Family Gallery to reinforce the Museum’s dual priorities of art and education.

Mint Museum of Craft + Design Exhibition Explores American Quilts

Exhibition on view July 25, 2009- February 6, 2010

Selections from a rich artistic tradition will be displayed at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design beginning this summer in the exhibition American Quilt Classics, 1800-1980: The Bresler Collection. From rare crib quilts to modern Amish textiles, the quilts on view reflect America’s diverse cultural and artistic heritage.

Between 2000 and 2001, Fleur and Charles Bresler donated to the Mint Museum of Craft + Design 36 American quilts from their collection. Ranging in date from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century, the quilts document the evolution of American quilting traditions, most notably the Baltimore Album Quilt and the Victorian Crazy Quilt. The exhibition explores the historical and cultural context of the quilts, as well as the economic and technological developments that influenced the textiles’ materials and designs.

Quilted bed covering and needlework traditions arrived in America with the first colonists. Each wave of immigrants would add to the development of the American quilt along with new technologies for printing brighter fabrics at lower prices. By the mid-1800s, an American style had emerged that was distinct from British and European influences.

Quilt making surged in popularity during the Great Depression as a source of relief from hard times. Hoping to jump-start the ailing economy, manufacturers created light and cheery fabrics, such as those seen in the exhibition’s Postage Stamp Quilt, which contains thousands of tiny pieces of cloth that were popular in the 1930s.

Despite declining during World War II and the postwar years, quilt making rebounded following the popular and critical reactions to two exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Abstract Design in American Quilts in 1971 and The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (Alabama) in 2003. Quilts gained in appreciation as works of art in their own right, and major public and private collections were formed throughout the country. Contemporary quiltmakers worldwide continue to explore and develop this time-honored tradition, combining colors, shapes and textures in new and exciting ways.

Organized by the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, American Quilt Classics, 1800-1980: The Bresler Collection was originally on view there in 2003. Since then it has traveled around the United States, and is returning to its home for an encore presentation. The exhibition will be accompanied a full-color catalogue available for sale in The Mint Museum Shops.