The Mint wins Best of Charlotte!

Museum recognized with multiple accolades from both critics and readers.

Creative Loafing has published its annual Best of Charlotte issue, and the Mint won many awards from both its critics and readers, including:

Best museum – staff pick (for Mint Museum Uptown, with a shout-out to Mint Museum Randolph too!)

Best museum – readers’ pick

Best art exhibit (group) for Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear

Best art exhibit (established artist) for the recently-concluded Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial

 

This follows our recent designation by Charlotte Magazine in May as the Best Museum (voters’ pick), for both Mint Museum Randolph and Mint Museum Uptown, in their annual Best of the Best awards. We also won Best Art Exhibit in the Past 12 Months for Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections.

Many thanks to the staffs of these publications and to their readers and voters for their support of the Mint!

Our Heritage, Our History

For one weekend only: Three powerful exhibitions with the potential to make an impact!

For one weekend only, experience this exciting intersection of exhibitions, plus a special event. A collaboration among the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Levine Museum of the New South, and The Mint Museum offers an exciting and important opportunity to deeply explore the impact of African-Americans through art, experience, and dialogue.

The Gantt Center’s America I AM: The African American Imprint,The Mint Museum’s Hard Truths: the Art of Thornton Dial, and Levine Museum’s Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America are coming together along with The Black Arts Movement: Present Condition – Future Vision.

THE BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT: PRESENT CONDITION – FUTURE VISION
SATURDAY, SEPT. 29, 3 P.M.
A moderated panel discussion presented by OnQ Performing Arts, at Duke EnergyTheatre, Spirit Square. Distinguished leaders of the black arts movement explore the radicalism, relevance and vision of this groundbreaking creative crusade from its emergence out of the 1960s civil rights movement to current 21st century reality. Moderated by John (Moe) Moore, panelists include: Amiri Baraka, poet/playwright (Newark, N.J.); Lou Bellamy, Founder/Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company (St. Paul, Minn.), and JoanMyers Brown, Founder of Philadanco! – The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadelphia, Penn.). FREE TO ATTEND. TICKET INFO 704.372.1000.

Presented by ONQ Performing Arts, JOMA Arts & Consulting LLC, and the Arts & Science Council.

AMERICA I AM: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN IMPRINT presents a historical continuum of pivotal moments in courage, conviction and creativity that helps to solidify the undeniable imprint of African Americans across the nation and around the world. On display through Jan. 1, 2013, the exhibit’s more than 200 artifacts and information provide context to how African Americans have contributed to and shaped American culture, with diverse objects ranging from the typewriter Alex Haley used to pen his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Roots to Prince’s guitar!

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
Open Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m.
551 South Tryon Street at Levine Center for the Arts; ganttcenter.org

HARD TRUTHS: THE ART OF THORNTON DIAL is an epic gathering of more than 30 large-scale paintings, sculptures, and wall assemblages that address the most compelling issues of our time, on view at Mint Museum Uptown through Sept. 30. A companion exhibition, DRAWINGS BY THORNTON DIAL, is on view at Mint Museum Randolph through Sept. 30. Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and is brought to the community with generous support from Wells Fargo, and additional support provided by Duke Energy.

Admission is FREE at both Mint locations on Saturday September 29 in conjunction with Museum Day Live! Also join the Hola Charlotte 2012, A Cultural Celebration! It takes place noon-5 p.m. Saturday outside Mint Museum Uptown. And take part in the public launch of the Mint’s Vote for Art project at Mint Museum Uptown!

Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street

Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road

Open Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m.; mintmuseum.org

WITHOUT SANCTUARY: LYNCHING PHOTOGRAPHY IN AMERICA is a graphic exhibit that examines one of the most horrific chapters of American history, and one that continues to influence society today. A powerful collection of photographs and postcards documenting hangings and other killings carried out by lynch mobs, the exhibit is designed to recognize the humanity of the victims and to promote cross-cultural discussion that can bring healing and vigilance against future acts of bigotry and violence. Presented by Bank of America, Without Sanctuary will be on display Sept. 29 – Dec. 31, 2012.

Levine Museum of the New South
Open Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m. (free admission on 9/30)
200 East 7th Street; museumofthenewsouth.org

The Mint Museum, two other local venues to offer free admission September 29

Participation is part of national Museum Day Live! event

On Saturday September 29, 2012, Carolina Raptor Center, Carolinas Aviation Museum, and The Mint Museum will all open their doors free of charge along with over 1,400 other participating venues for the eighth annual Museum Day Live! This immensely successful program, in which the museums will emulate the free admission policy of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based facilities, encourages learning and the spread of knowledge nationwide.

Inclusive by design, Museum Day Live! fulfills Smithsonian Media’s mission to make cultural education accessible to everyone. For one day only, the museums will grant free access to visitors who download a Museum Day Live! ticket at Smithsonian.com. Last year’s event drew over 350,000 museum-goers, and this year’s Museum Day Live! is expected to attract close to 400,000 participants.

The Museum Day Live! Ticket is available to download at Smithsonian.com/museumday. Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues for one day only. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2012 and a list of participating museums and cultural institutions, please visit Smithsonian.com/museumday.

More information about the attractions and events at each venue:

Carolina Raptor Center

The center at 6000 Sample Road in Huntersville is dedicated to environmental stewardship and the conservation of birds of prey through education, research, and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors. General adult admission is normally $10. On September 29, events include an 11 a.m. Live Bird Presentation, a 12:30 p.m. Vulture Feeding, and a 2 p.m. Meet the Keeper Program. More information at www.carolinaraptorcenter.org.

Carolinas Aviation Museum

The museum devoted to the history of aviation and aircraft is at 4672 First Flight Drive near Charlotte Douglas International Airport. General adult admission is normally $12. Exhibits include a recently completed exhibit on the “Miracle on the Hudson, Flight 1549.” On September 29, visitors will be able to take a special tour of an Eastern Airlines DC-7 and a replica of Air Force One as it was during President Reagan’s tenure for a special charge of $7. More information at www.carolinasaviation.org.

The Mint Museum

Charlotte’s oldest and largest art museum is offering free admission at both its locations: Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road, and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street. General adult admission is normally $10. Free admission will be offered to all visitors and a Museum Day Live! voucher is not required. Mint Museum Uptown’s free admission day coincides with Hola Charlotte Festival 2012, A Cultural Celebration! In cooperation with the Latin American Women’s Association and Norsan Media, the festival includes a salsa contest, live music, cuisine and a celebration of the culture of Latin heritage. Museum visitors will also experience the final weekend of the exhibition Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, closing September 30, and will be invited to cast ballots in the “Vote for Art” project, which allows visitors to select which work or works of art from among six choices should be added to the museum’s permanent collection. At Mint Museum Randolph, visitors will experience the final weekend of Drawings by Thornton Dial, which also closes September 30. More information at the NEW mintmuseum.org.

UPDATE: It’s an important cultural weekend in uptown Charlotte, with the debut of “Our Heritage, Our History,” the unprecedented joining of three exhibitions and a special event for one weekend only. Read details here.

About Carolina Raptor Center

Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to environmental stewardship and the conservation of birds of prey through research, education and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors. Over 35,000 people walk the Raptor Trail each year, enjoying our 25 species of raptor including hawks, eagles, owls and vultures. In 2012, 834 birds were treated in the Raptor Medical Center with almost 70% of those that live through the first 24 hours being released back into the wild. CRC Educators present programming to over 25,000 school children a year onsite and in their classrooms.

About Carolinas Aviation Museum

Founded in 1992, and located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum has the largest collection of aircraft and aerospace artifacts between Washington, D.C. and Robins, GA.  The collection spans the entire history of powered flight, and includes the world-renewed “Miracle on the Hudson” Airbus A-320.  The museum’s mission is to educate and inspire the next generation to excel academically in the areas of math, science, and history through the preservation of our aerospace heritage.  More information about the museum can be found at http://www.carolinasaviation.org or http://www.facebook.com/ft1549.  Follow the Museum on Twitter @Carolinairmusem.

About The Mint Museum

As the oldest art museum in North Carolina, with one of the largest collections in the Southeast, The Mint Museum offers its visitors inspiring and transformative experiences through art from around the world via innovative collections, groundbreaking exhibitions, and riveting educational programs. The Mint Museum is a non-profit, visual arts institution comprised of two dynamic facilities: Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph.

Located in what was the original branch of the United States Mint, Mint Museum Randolph opened in 1936 in Charlotte’s Eastover neighborhood as the state’s first art museum. Today, in a beautiful park setting, intimate galleries invite visitors to engage with the art of the ancient Americas, ceramics and decorative arts, fashion, European and African art, among other collections. Resources include a reference library with over 18,000 volumes, a theater featuring lectures and performances, and a museum shop offering merchandise that complements both the permanent collection and special exhibitions.

Mint Museum Uptown houses the internationally renowned Craft + Design collection, as well as outstanding collections of American, contemporary, and European art. Designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston, the five-story, 145,000-square-foot facility combines inspiring architecture with cutting-edge exhibitions to provide visitors with unparalleled educational and cultural experiences. Located in the heart of Charlotte’s burgeoning center city, Mint Museum Uptown is an integral part of the Levine Center for the Arts, a cultural campus that includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, the Knight Theater, and the Duke Energy Center. Mint Museum Uptown also features a wide range of visitor amenities, including the 240-seat James B. Duke Auditorium, the Lewis Family Gallery, art studios, a restaurant, and a museum shop. For more information, visit the NEW mintmuseum.org.

About Smithsonian Media

Smithsonian Media comprises its flagship publication, Smithsonian magazine, as well as Air & Space, goSmithsonian, Smithsonian Media Digital Network, and the Smithsonian Channel. Smithsonian Media is a division of Smithsonian Enterprises, the revenue-generating business unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visit the museums annually.

Opening June 30: Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial and Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection

Both groundbreaking exhibitions to be accompanied by special events

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 19, 2012) – Two exhibitions illustrating diverse and thought-provoking  views of what it means to be an American will open June 30 at Mint Museum Uptown. The community is invited to engage with the museum during special events associated with each exhibition.

The exhibitions mark the beginning of a spectacular lineup The Mint Museum will have on display when tens of thousands of visitors arrive in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention in early September. More news of other exhibitions and special projects will be arriving in the coming weeks.

“The eyes of the nation and world will be on Charlotte soon, and the Mint is prepared to lead the way in displaying the depth and breadth of our city’s ascending cultural scene,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “We are proud to be able to bring two such significant exhibitions to our community and visitors.”

Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial
30 June – 30 September 2012

“All truth is hard truth. We’re in the darkness now, and we got to accept the hard truth to bring on the light. You can hide the truth, but you can’t get rid of it. When truth come out in the light, we get the beauty of the world.” –Thornton Dial

An artist raised in the rural South, Thornton Dial is a keen observer of the human spectacle and its narratives of corruption and moral strength, folly and triumph. As an artist, he has spent the last two decades exploring the truth of American history and culture in all its complexities and contradictions. This exhibition presents a major survey of Dial’s work, an epic gathering of over thirty large-scale paintings, sculptures, and wall assemblages that address the most compelling issues of our time.

The Mint is kicking off the exhibition with a pre-opening reception, “Get DIAL’d In,” on June 27 from 6-10 p.m. at Mint Museum Uptown. The event will feature a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Dial himself is scheduled to be present as a special guest. Tickets are $50 for Mint members, and $75 for non-members, and proceeds will benefit the Romare Bearden Society, which supports acquisitions of works by African American artists. (http://www.mintmuseum.org/happenings/9/opening-reception-for-hard-truths-the-art-of-thornton-dial)

The exhibition and opening reception are brought to the community with generous support from Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to provide major funding to bring this compelling exhibition to the community,” said Jay Everette, the chair-elect of The Mint Museum’s Board of Trustees and the Senior Vice President and Community Affairs Manager for Greater Charlotte for Wells Fargo. “And we are especially excited to host the opening community celebration. We invite our neighbors and friends to join in previewing these highly significant works by Mr. Dial.”

Added Brad Thomas, the Mint’s curator of contemporary art: “Since I joined the Mint team in January, it has been my distinct pleasure to work with our staff and many supporters on bringing this remarkable body of work to our museum. This retrospective exhibition shines a well-deserved light on one of the most original and prolific American artists of our time.”

The Mint decided to engage both its campuses in the exhibition. In addition to the large-scale assemblages on display at Mint Museum Uptown, a selection of drawings by Dial will be on display at Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road in Charlotte, in the Dickson Gallery for the duration of the exhibition.

Dial spent his childhood toiling in the farm fields of western Alabama, followed by decades spent as a laborer in the region’s factories and heavy industry. A working-class man whose art was weaned in the unheralded expressive practices of the black vernacular South, Dial speaks in a voice long overlooked in the canons of modern art and culture. Since his discovery in the late 1980s, critics have likened Dial’s complex and tumultuous creations to the renowned works of such artists as Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer.

To create his art, Dial employs a vast universe of symbolically charged materials — from plastic grave flowers, child’s toys, bed springs, and carpet scraps to cow skulls and goat carcasses. Salvaged from garbage cans and trash heaps, these items reappear in dense accumulations amidst the artist’s fields of dripped paint and expressionistic brushworks.

Over the years, Dial has tackled a wide range of social and political subjects in his art, from gripping commentaries on the homeless, the abuse of the environment, and the failings of global capitalism to haunting meditations on the War in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the tragedy of 9/11. Concerned with representing those otherwise rendered invisible within the contours of history, he has also created many works on the plight of women, labor, the rural poor, and the impoverished underclass. Still other paintings and sculptures examine the long history of racial oppression in America. Recounting the atrocities of slavery and Southern sharecropping, the aspirations of the Great Migration, the fight for Civil Rights, and other episodes in black memory, these pieces form a powerful anthology on the human struggle for freedom and equality.

A fully illustrated catalogue is available in The Mint Museum Shops for $45. In addition to the support provided by Wells Fargo, Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial received additional support provided by Duke Energy. Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
30 June – 23 September 2012

During her career in public service, Madeleine Albright famously used her jewelry to communicate diplomatic messages. Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection reveals an intriguing story of American history and foreign policy as told through former U.S. Secretary of State Albright’s jeweled pins.

“I am delighted that the pin exhibition will be at the spectacular Mint Museum, particularly at such an important time for Charlotte,” said Secretary Albright. “This is an exciting time for Charlotte residents to share with the rest of the world the city’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.”

Albright will visit Charlotte in July for a series of events to promote community learning and engagement with the exhibition. On Friday July 13, following a media event at the museum, Albright will appear at a members-only reception at 6:30 p.m. (tickets are $150 per person, $200 per couple; attendees must be Mint members to purchase). On Saturday July 14, she will appear at a special educational program for invited local students before conducting a public conversation at Mint Museum Uptown at 1 p.m., followed by a book signing. Tickets to the public event are $20, or $10 for members. (http://www.mintmuseum.org/happenings/29/a-conversation-with-former-secretary-of-state-madeleine-albright)

The collection that Secretary Albright cultivated is distinctive and democratic — sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish and outspoken — and spans more than a century of jewelry design and fascinating pieces from across the globe. The more than 200 works on view are chosen for their symbolic value. While some are fine antiques, many are costume jewelry. Together the pieces in this expressive collection explore the power of jewelry to communicate through a style and language of its own.

Albright told reporters during a visit to the Mint in February: “My pin collection….would not exist if it had not been for Saddam Hussein.” Jewelry became part of Albright’s diplomatic arsenal in 1994 when Saddam Hussein’s government-controlled press referred to Albright, who was at that time U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as an “unparalleled serpent.” At her next meeting on the subject of Iraq, Albright wore a golden snake brooch, beginning a career-long practice of using jewelry to convey and reinforce diplomatic messages.

“While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying ‘Read my lips,’ I began urging colleagues and reporters to ‘Read my pins’,” Albright has said. This traveling exhibition is accompanied by the book “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box” (2009), which is on sale now in The Mint Museum Shops ($40). Secretary Albright has given the world an opportunity to explore American history and foreign policy through the unique lens of jewelry.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection is brought to The Mint Museum through the support of Perry’s at SouthPark. Generous support for the original exhibition was provided by Bren Simon and for the exhibition catalogue by St. John Knits. Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

ABOUT LEVINE CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Levine Center for the Arts is one of Charlotte’s key cultural destinations, comprised of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater, Mint Museum Uptown, and Duke Energy Center. The Levine Center was made possible through the Campaign for Cultural Facilities, the support of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and the generosity of the Leon Levine Foundation, one of the country’s largest and most impactful philanthropic organizations.

The opening of Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial at the Mint coincides with the opening of America I AM: The African American Imprint at the Gantt Center. America I AM, on display 30 June 2012-1 January 2013, celebrates nearly 500 years of African American contributions to the United States. The exhibition was developed in partnership with Tavis Smiley and organized by Cincinnati Museum Center and Arts and Exhibitions International (AEI). America I AM is made possible by Wal-Mart, which serves as its presenting sponsor. Visit ganttcenter.org for more information.

Ten innovative exhibitions for 2012

Museum announces upcoming slate, including ‘Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear’ and ‘Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection’

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 9, 2012) – The Mint Museum announced a slate of 10 upcoming exhibitions for 2012, beginning with Surrealism and Beyond, which opens to the public on February 11. With former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in attendance, the museum also announced that an exhibition of her jewelry entitled Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection will open June 30 and be on view during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. And complementing trends that are reverberating throughout popular culture, museum officials detailed plans for the exhibition Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear, which is scheduled to open March 3.

More will be added to this list in coming months, so keep checking back at mintmuseum.org for updates!

Surrealism and Beyond

Mint Museum UPTOWN

11 February – 13 May 2012

This project brings together three groundbreaking exhibitions and comprises the largest and most significant examination Surrealism and Surrealist-inspired art ever presented in the Southeast.

Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy explores the exchange of ideas that informed the work of the important Surrealist artists Kay Sage (American, 1898-1963) and Yves Tanguy (French/American, 1900-1955) during their 15-year relationship. It is the first exhibition to examine Sage and Tanguy’s work from this perspective, the first significant exhibition of Tanguy’s art organized by an American museum since 1955, and the first major gathering of Sage’s paintings since 1977. Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy is made possible through support from The Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. Exhibition organized by The Mint Museum and Katonah Museum of Art.

Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s focuses on the remarkable paintings and drawings created by the American artist Charles Seliger (1926-2009) during the first decade of his career. It is made possible through support from The Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Dedalus Foundation, Inc. Exhibition organized by The Mint Museum.

Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary is the first retrospective of the British-American Surrealist painter’s work organized by an American museum in more than 30 years. Featuring approximately 30 paintings by the artist, it is drawn entirely from his family’s collection. It is made possible through support from The Mint Museum Auxiliary and organized by The Mint Museum. For a complete news release about these exhibitions, visit mintmuseum.org and click on “News/Press Releases.”

Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear

Mint Museum UPTOWN 3 March – 8 July 2012

Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear brings together the work of several internationally acclaimed artists, including Mattia Biagi, Mark Newport, Kako Ueda, Tom Price, and Kate Malone. Known for his work in tar, Italian artist Biagi reinterprets icons of lost innocence, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella’s carriage. Newport, an American fiber artist, creates hand-knit acrylic re-creations of heroes’ costumes, which combine their heroic, protective, and ultra-masculine yet vulnerable personas. Ueda, a Japanese paper artist, uses unsettling imagery, such as insects and skeletons, in her detailed cutouts to represent the fine line between beauty and decay. Price, a British furniture designer, is known for his use of polypropylene tubing to create spiky shapes that evoke forms from the natural world. And Malone, a British ceramic artist, is known for her sensual Neo-Baroque forms and mastery of crystalline glazes.

This thematic exhibition, generously supported by the Mint Museum Auxiliary, also includes selections from the Mint’s permanent collection and loans from private collections, and utilizes flat-screen televisions for a one-of-a-kind experience. For a complete news release about this exhibition, visit mintmuseum.org and click on “News/Press Releases.”

Sophisticated Surfaces: The Pottery of Herb Cohen

Mint Museum RANDOLPH

7 April 2012 – 6 January 2013

Organized as part of the Mint’s celebration of its 75th anniversary, this exhibition focuses on the ceramic creations of Herb Cohen, a master potter and seminal figure in the museum’s own history. Sophisticated Surfaces: The Pottery of Herb Cohen brings together approximately 60 works, including selections from the Mint’s permanent collection and loans from numerous private collections. Many of Cohen’s works feature intricate, abstract patterns carved into the clay surface, along with innovative experimentations in glazing, which harmoniously blend purity of form with sophisticated surface decoration. Following the evolution of his seven-decade-long career as an award-winning potter, this exhibition demonstrates in a variety of forms that range from the functional to the sculptural the inimitable skill and style for which Cohen has become known.

Born in Manhattan, Cohen first learned to throw on the potter’s wheel at the remarkably young age of 6, a craft he has continued to practice throughout his life. After earning his MFA from the prestigious New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Cohen worked as a designer for Hyalyn Porcelain Company in Hickory, N.C. He eventually settled in Charlotte in the late 1950s, where he joined the staff of The Mint Museum and served as its acting director from 1968 to 1969. In the 1970s he moved to Blowing Rock, N.C. to establish his own studio, but returned to Charlotte in 2010, where he remains active in the local arts community.

The American Art Tile, 1880-1940

Mint Museum RANDOLPH

7 April 2012 – 6 January 2013

The popularity of art tiles for embellishing American architectural settings dates to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. For the remainder of the nineteenth century, many middle-class and wealthy consumers incorporated the latest fashions of art tiles in their homes. Mass-produced tiles with refined details often featured famous portraits or vignettes. By the turn of the century, trends shifted to favor the handmade aesthetic of the Arts & Crafts Movement. American art tile companies enjoyed success for about 50 years, until the Great Depression and World War II forced many out of business. The Mint Museum will present approximately 40 tiles from its permanent collection in the American Decorative Arts Gallery, including the permanently installed fireplace surround, Arkansas Traveler, modeled and designed circa 1916 by Henry Chapman Mercer of Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Heritage Gallery

Mint Museum

RANDOLPH Opens 31 May 2012

From its inception as the first art museum in North Carolina in 1936, The Mint Museum has been an innovator and leader, a theme illustrated in the inaugural installation of the Heritage Gallery at Mint Museum Randolph. It will feature works of art, archival documents, and photographs documenting the growth and evolution of the museum, from its beginnings as the original branch of the U.S. Mint to its founding as an art museum to the present and beyond.

 

Matthew Weinstein

Mint Museum UPTOWN

28 April-19 August 2012

Matthew Weinstein, a visual artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, N.Y., has achieved notoriety in the art world as the first artist to focus exclusively on 3D animation. Beginning with a self-written dialogue or lyrics, Weinstein uses musical scores and written text to develop characters which he then renders by means of the animation program MAYA. Weinstein then casts actors to vocalize the dialogue, and musicians to create an auditory backdrop for the already visually-developed environments. Using precision airbrush techniques and single-hair paintbrushes, Weinstein also creates paintings, essentially abstractions of his animated worlds. These paintings accompany the digital installations and enable the artist to explore the often-tenuous boundary between the real and the virtual in contemporary culture.

The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra commissioned Weinstein to create a digital accompaniment to debut with their performance of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero on May 4. The Mint Museum has organized a spotlight exhibition of Weinstein’s art, including four paintings and two videos. Weinstein’s Chariots of the Gods features a mechanized female koi, voiced by Tony-award winning actress Natasha Richardson, who dangles from a golden chain in an empty restaurant. While she seems to carelessly meander through her environment with a smiling disposition, she offers discourse on such weighty subjects as the future, devolution, technology, aliens, and the impossibility of progress. A second video, Cruising 1980, is an homage to writer-director William Friedkin’s iconic film “Cruising” (1980). This exhibition is organized by The Mint Museum.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection

Mint Museum UPTOWN

30 June – 23 September 2012

During her career in public service, Madeleine Albright famously used her jewelry to communicate diplomatic messages. Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection reveals an intriguing story of American history and foreign policy as told through Secretary Albright’s jeweled pins. The exhibition will be on display during the Democratic National Convention, which will be in Charlotte September 3-6, 2012.

Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the exhibition features more than 200 pieces of jewelry. The collection that Secretary Albright cultivated is distinctive and democratic — sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish and outspoken — and spans more than a century of jewelry design and fascinating pieces from across the globe. The works on view are chosen for their symbolic value, and while some are fine antiques, many are costume jewelry. Together the pieces in this expressive collection explore the power of jewelry to communicate through a style and language of its own.

Through this traveling exhibition and the accompanying book “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box” (2009), Secretary Albright has given the world an opportunity to explore American history and foreign policy through the lens of jewelry. For a complete news release about this exhibition, visit mintmuseum.org and click on “News/Press Releases.”

Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial

Mint Museum UPTOWN

30 June – 30 September 2012

Thornton Dial is a keen observer of the human spectacle and its narratives of corruption and moral strength, folly and triumph. As an artist, he has spent the last two decades exploring the truth of American history and culture in all its complexities and contradictions. This exhibition presents a major survey of Dial’s work, an epic gathering of over fifty large-scale paintings, sculptures and wall assemblages that address the most compelling issues of our time. Born and raised in the rural South, Dial spent his childhood toiling in the farm fields of western Alabama, followed by decades spent as a laborer in the region’s factories and heavy industry. A working-class man whose art was weaned in the unheralded expressive practices of the black vernacular South, Dial speaks in a voice long overlooked in the canons of modern art and culture.

Since his discovery in the late 1980s, critics have likened Dial’s complex and tumultuous creations to the renowned works of such artists as Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer. To create his art, Dial employs a vast universe of symbolically charged materials — from plastic grave flowers, child’s toys, bed springs and carpet scraps to cow skulls and goat carcasses. Salvaged from garbage cans and trash heaps, these items reappear in dense accumulations amidst the artist’s fields of dripped paint and expressionistic brushworks. Over the years, Dial has tackled a wide range of social and political subjects in his art, from gripping commentaries on the homeless, the abuse of the environment, and the failings of global capitalism to haunting meditations on the War in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the tragedy of 9/11.

Concerned with representing those otherwise rendered invisible within the contours of history, he has also created many works on the plight of women, labor, the rural poor, and the impoverished underclass. Still other paintings and sculptures examine the long history of racial oppression in America. Recounting the atrocities of slavery and Southern sharecropping, the aspirations of the Great Migration, the flight for Civil Rights, and other episodes in black memory, these pieces form a powerful anthology on the human struggle for freedom and equality. Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial is organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design

Mint Museum UPTOWN

1 September 2012 – 27 January 2013

This exhibition will examine woodworking in contemporary art across a broad spectrum of practices and concepts. It will engage aspects of art, craft, and design that have been characterized as “performative” and critique the traditional art/craft/design divide. There will be approximately 80 works in the exhibition including vessels, furniture, sculptures, paintings, installations, and works by an international roster of artists, crafts persons, and designers such as Alexandre Arrechea, Martin Baas, Sandford Biggers, David Ellsworth, Hugo França, Maria Elena Gonzalez, Robyn Horn, Donald Judd, Mel Kendrick, Silas Kopf, Sherrie Levine, Mark Lindquist, George Nakashima, Sarah Oppenheimer, Martin Puryear, Jean Shin, Bob Stocksdale, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Woods. Objects from the Mint’s wood art collection will be included.

This timely exhibition addresses a heavily debated topic in the field: As the boundaries between art, craft, and design increasingly overlap, should these categories be redefined, and if so, how? Against the Grain uses the versatile medium of wood to address this issue, highlighting several artists represented in The Mint Museum’s collection, such as Mark Lindquist and Robyn Horn, as well as several that have been identified as artists to collect in the future, including Hugo França and Matthias Pliessnig.

Against the Grain will debut at The Mint Museum during the Democratic National Convention, followed by a presentation at Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York (March-May 2013). The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Arts and Design.

The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art

Mint Museum UPTOWN

20 October 2012 – 20 January 2013

This is the first major exhibition to examine collectively the paintings of the American artists Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889) and his two sons, John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926) and Julian Alden Weir (1851-1919). It traces the trajectory of American art across the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, exploring the wide range of styles in which Robert and his sons worked, as well as the way in which their transatlantic encounters helped to shape their art.

Robert Weir was one of the first American artists to study in Italy, working there from 1824-27. Upon his return to America, he became an associate at the recently-founded National Academy in New York in 1829 and, a few years later, an instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was renowned for his talent as a portraitist and a history painter.

Robert’s first son John trained with his father as well as in Europe. He then taught at Yale University for forty-four years, establishing the first academic art program at a university in this country. Early in his career, he painted history and genre scenes, but was also an adept society portraitist.

John’s younger brother, Julian, was educated at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1873-77. Although he initially expressed disdain for Impressionism and worked in an academic style, he later embraced the new movement and became one of the country’s leading Impressionist artists.

This exhibition was organized by the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and supported in part by the Henry Luce Foundation and by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. It will bring together between 60 and 70 paintings drawn from public and private collections, and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. It opened at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and will travel to the New Britain Museum of American Art before making its final stop in Charlotte.