Two extraordinary exhibitions of American art to open at Mint Museum Uptown

“The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art’ and ‘Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver’ both open October 20

Two new exhibitions celebrating nearly 200 years of American art from the early 19th century to present day are opening to the public at Mint Museum Uptown on Saturday, October 20, and will remain on view for the next three months.

“The Mint is pleased to continue offering Charlotte audiences a range of exhibitions celebrating art that is beautiful, inspiring, and historically significant,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “We look forward to our visitors engaging with these works and being transformed in ways that transcend the walls of our museum.”

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

The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art, organized by the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and on view through January 20, 2013, is the first major exhibition to collectively examine the paintings of American artists Robert Walter Weir and his two sons, John Ferguson Weir and Julian Alden Weir, and in doing so it traces the trajectory of American art across the 19th century and into the 20th.

“I am delighted to be able to bring such an important exhibition to the Mint,” said Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s curator of American art. “This exhibition traces almost the entire history of American painting in the nineteenth century through the lens of a single family, and does so with beautifully-executed paintings containing engaging subject matter.”

Robert Weir was one of the first American artists to study in Italy, working there from 1824 until 1827. 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 in West Point. He was renowned for his talent as a portraitist and a history painter and painted one of the murals in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. Robert’s first son, John, trained with his father and in Europe. He then taught at Yale University for 44 years and established the first academic art program at a university in the United States. John’s younger brother, Julian, was educated at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1873 until 1877 and became one of the country’s leading Impressionist artists.

Mint members have the opportunity to preview the exhibition at a members-only First Look Friday on October 19 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Mint will offer a number of lectures and other special events during the run of the exhibition, beginning with a Sunday Fun Day this Sunday, October 21 from 1-4 p.m. with activities celebrating the exhibition (FREE for children under 18; half-price admission for adults). On Tuesday October 30, David Park Curry, the Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, American painting and Sculpture at the Baltimore Art Museums, will visit for a FREE discussion of the life and career of James McNeill Whistler, who studied under Robert Walter Weir. A curator’s tour with Stuhlman will be November 14 at noon and is free after museum admission. A FREE concert featuring local handbell choirs, celebrating the 1866 painting The Christmas Bell by John Ferguson Weir and other holiday-themed works in the exhibition, will be December 18. And a FREE ArtFusion event with a lecture and other activities will be held January 15. For more information on these and other events, visit http://www.mintmuseum.org/happenings/.

The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art is organized by Weir expert Marian Wardle for the Brigham Young University Museum of Art. It is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and foundation sponsor, the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional assistance has been provided by Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley and the Milton A. and Gloria G. Barlow Foundation. Presentation in Charlotte of The Weir Family is generously made possible by McColl Brothers Lockwood and McColl Partners, and the Mint Museum Auxiliary. A fully-illustrated hardcover catalogue is available in the Mint Museum Shops for $49.95.

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver, on view through January 6, 2013, celebrates the last decade of work by a North Carolina native artist who is renowned for her expression-filled, emotive canvases that commemorate her life and the lives of those closest to her – in particular, her mother Ethel, who passed away in 2004, and her sister, Renee, who is mentally disabled.

“Beverly McIver’s vibrant colors and expressive brushstrokes give voice to matters of identity and personal integrity. Having left the security of a tenured faculty position to honor a promise made to her terminally-ill mother to care for her disabled sister, Renee, McIver tracks the complex emotions of despair, hope and resiliency,” said Curator Carla Hanzal. “This is a powerful show that speaks to difficult choices made by contemporary families.”

McIver is a significant presence in contemporary American art, examining racial, gender and social identities through her experiences as an African-American female artist. Her family history allowed her to contemplate and illustrate complicated emotions that arrive from depression, frustration, compassion, and joy. “All of my portraits are self-portraits,” McIver has said. “I use the faces of others who reflect my most inner being.”

McIver’s 2002 work Dora’s Dance is a candidate for acquisition by the Mint through the museum’s “Vote for Art” project, which allows museum visitors to cast ballots for their favorites from among six works of art. The winning work will be announced at the museum’s Ballot Ball on November 9.

A documentary about McIver, “Raising Renee,” will screen at the Mint for FREE on Tuesday, November 20. The artist herself will visit for a FREE discussion on Tuesday, November 27. For more details on these and other events, visit www.mintmuseum.org/happenings.

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver is organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. An illustrated softcover catalogue is available in the Mint Museum Shops for $15.

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.