‘Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes’ retells African American histories and connects American craft traditions through powerful woven art

Diedrick Brackens (American, 1989–). survival is a shrine, not the small space near the limit of life, 2021; cotton and acrylic yarn, 92 x 98 inches.

‘Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes’ retells African American histories and connects American craft traditions through powerful woven art

For Immediate Release 

Charlotte, North Carolina (June 23, 2022)The Mint Museum is pleased to present Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes, displaying large-scale textiles, handwoven basket boats, and performative photography by internationally recognized artist Diedrick Brackens. Originally curated by Lauren R. O’Connell for the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Mint Museum iteration installs the SMoCA exhibition alongside works from The Mint Museum’s collection of quilts and weavings, many of which are on view for the first time, and a survey of contemporary North Carolina weavers. ark of bulrushes will be on view July 16–December 11, 2022 at Mint Museum Randolph. 

Brackens is best known for his weavings that explore narratives about queerness, masculinity, and the Black experience in the United States. His work incorporates elements of West-African weaving, American quilting, and European tapestry-making, as well as histories associated with craft. 

In ark of bulrushes, colorful weavings are encoded with patterns, constellations, and Black figures to form a mythology that combines past stories about liberation, from the Bible to the Underground Railroad, with current narratives of freedom and remediation. Additionally, Brackens first basket boats consider how craft can activate narratives for self-deliverance.

“I really started to think about how I could employ baskets as a tool for self-liberation. For me the question was: Could you make a basket big enough to float away, and is this something that one could do in a clandestine manner or in plain sight? I want the baskets to make some of these myths feel possible, that these aren’t just stories we tell ourselves, but that there is possibility through making, through craft, to actualize these things,” Brackens says.

In the performative photography, Brackens brings the baskets back into nature. “It speaks to how folks have been dispossessed from nature. I think there is so much power in it and so much peace,” he says.

Brackens and O’Connell worked with the Mint’s Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, and Senior Curator of Craft, Design, and Fashion Annie Carlano to expand the original SMoCA version with related objects from the Mint’s collection of quilts, weavings, and Native American baskets.  

“The sensation of feeling lost and the yearning for guidance — physically, spiritually, emotionally, historically — is a state of existence humans have felt for as long as they have wandered the Earth, and Diedrick Brackens gives us an entirely new way to consider this experience through his poignant, potent imagery that Lauren O’Connell has assembled into this powerful constellation of works,” Sudul Edwards says.  

Contemporary regional artists who have works in the exhibition, include Charlotte-based artists Renee Cloud, Katrina Sanchez, and Andrea Vail, along with Edwina Bringle of Penland, North Carolina, Andrea Donnelly of Richmond, Virginia, and Martha Clippinger of Durham, North Carolina.

Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and curated by Lauren R. O’Connell, curator of contemporary art at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Support is provided by the S. Rex and Joan Lewis Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Learning & Engagement and Community Outreach programming for this exhibition is generously supported by Windgate Foundation.   

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The Mint Museum 

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community. 

Media 

For interviews, digital images, or additional information, please contact: 

Clayton Sealey, senior director of marketing and communications
clayton.sealey@mintmuseum.org | 704.534.0186 (c) 

Michele Huggins, associate director of marketing and communications
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org | 704.564.0826 (c) 

Wild Wednesday

Stop by the Mint Museum Randolph lawn to get up close with an animal visitor from Stevens Creek Nature Center, participate in nature-themed art projects, and go on a self-guided visit to the museum. Enjoy free museum admission from 5-9 PM.

 

Wild Wednesday
Wednesday, June 29 | 6-8 PM; 6:30-7:30 PM animal encounter
Mint Museum Randolph
Free

Party in the Park 2022

Come as you are for an afternoon of live music with the Mike Strauss Band, live painting by Brandon Henrie, food trucks, a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting), plus free museum admission. Party in the Park is generously presented by Principal Foundation.  

Party in the Park
Mint Museum Randolph
June 26, 2022 | 1-5 PM
FREE 

Register

 

Free Mini Art Kits: Ornate Owls

This summer, construct and decorate an ornate clay owl inspired by a Chinese plate on view at Mint Randolph.

Drop by the Mint Museum Randolph terrace Wednesday, June 15- Saturday, June 18 during museum hours to pick up a fun all-ages project to create at home. While supplies last.Free Mini Art Kits are supported by Mint Museum Auxiliary.During poor weather and after dark, the art cart will be in the museum atrium.

 

Free Mini Art Kits: Ornate Owl 
June 15-18 | Wednesday, 11 AM-9 PM; Thursday-Saturday, 11 AM-6 PM
Mint Museum Randolph
Free

Bilingual Stories and Music

Children ages 6 and younger, and their families, are invited to join for 40 minutes of music and stories with Criss Cross Mangosauce to celebrate culture and diversity. Criss Cross Mangosauce, use a combination of bilingual stories (Spanish/English), musical instruments, toys, puppets, and games to interact with the audience.

 

Bilingual Stories and Music
June 11, 2022 | 11-11:40 AM
Mint Museum Randolph
FREE

Party in the Park 2022

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, live music, special programming themed around Mental Health Awareness month, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting).

From 2-4 PM, join in a calming, slow-looking exercise in the museum galleries and join in a mindfulness drawing activity in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month.

Party in the Park is generously presented by Principal Foundation.

 

Party in the Park
Mint Museum Randolph
May 29, 2022 | 1-5 PM

FREE 

 

The Mint Museum presents ‘The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters’

The Mint Museum presents The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters

Installation represents the rich history of North Carolina pottery through 60 works by six generations of the Cole family of potters

For Immediate Release | Images available here

Charlotte, North Carolina (May 13, 2022) —  For more than 200 years, members of the Cole family have been potting in central North Carolina — Randolph, Moore, Lee, and Montgomery counties. Six generations of Coles, and no fewer than 18 individuals, are represented in The Mint Museum’s permanent collection. More than 60 highlights of their wares are included in the new installation The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters, on view at Mint Museum Randolph.

From crocks, jars, and jugs to pitchers, candleholders, and vases, “turning pots” is one of the oldest and richest craft traditions in North Carolina. The deep-rooted legacy of the Cole family of potters began with Raphard Cole, born in 1799. He and his sons produced utilitarian stoneware, such as crocks, jugs, and urns, that were needed in an agrarian economy. Following generations distinguished themselves from their forebears by training their daughters, as well as their sons, on how to “turn pots.”

As the North Carolina tourist market for decorative ceramics evolved, the Cole family produced an impressive variety of colorfully glazed vases, pitchers, candleholders, and other ceramic pieces. Examples of all these wares also are on view in the installation.

“In a state filled with multigenerational families of gifted potters, the Coles stand out as one of North Carolina’s most enduring and prolific. For more than two hundred years, they have contributed enormously to the state’s ceramic traditions through their well-potted objects and their exceptionally beautiful glazes,” says Brian Gallagher, senior curator of decorative arts at The Mint Museum.

The Cole Family: A Dynasty of North Carolina Potters presents a visual history of “turned pots” and the family that helped turn North Carolina into one of America’s centers for handmade, traditional pottery.

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The Mint Museum
Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Contact
Clayton Sealey, senior director of marketing and communications
clayton.sealey@mintmuseum.org | 704.534.0186 (c)

Michele Huggins, associate director of marketing and communications
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org | 704.564.0826 (c)

 

Coveted Couture Gala

The Mint Museum’s Coveted Couture Spring Gala & Closing Celebration for The World of Anna Sui – SOLD OUT

The Mint Museum’s annual Coveted Couture Gala returns in-person to Mint Museum Randolph, and will also serve as the closing celebration for the amazingly popular The World of Anna Sui exhibition. Read More

Party in the Park 2022

Enjoy free admission to the museum, food trucks, live music, special programming, and a cash bar on the front terrace (weather permitting).

From 2-4 PM, learn fun facts about the first branch of the U.S. Mint before it became an art museum and design your own money in honor of Financial Literacy Month.

Party in the Park is generously presented by Principal Foundation.

 

Reserve tickets

 

Party in the Park
Mint Museum Randolph
April 24, 2022 | 1-5 PM

FREE 

 

Bilingual Stories and Music

Children ages 6 and younger, and their families, are invited to join for 40 minutes of music and stories with Criss Cross Mangosauce to celebrate culture and diversity. Criss Cross Mangosauce, use a combination of bilingual stories (Spanish/English), musical instruments, toys, puppets, and games to interact with the audience.

 

Bilingual Stories and Music
April 23, 2022 | 11-11:40 AM
Mint Museum Randolph
FREE