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The Mint Museum to celebrate its 80th Anniversary "Year of the Woman" with two pioneering exhibitions

July 18, 2016

"Women of Abstract Expressionism" and "Fired Up: Women in Glass" to open October 22

Women were the driving force behind the founding of The Mint Museum as North Carolina’s first art museum. Women, including current President & CEO Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, have provided exemplary leadership to the Mint. And now, the museum is preparing to celebrate women artists with two exhibitions opening on the museum’s 80th anniversary this October 22.

Members of the media and special guests are invited to preview Women of Abstract Expressionism and Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists from the Toledo Museum of Art on Friday, October 21 at 9:30 a.m. at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street in Charlotte. Light breakfast will be served and curators will be available for interviews. RSVP to leigh.dyer@mintmuseum.org.

Weston M. Andress, PNC Regional President for Western Carolinas and chair of The Mint Museum Board of Trustees, has issued a proclamation declaring the fiscal year running July 2016 through June 2017 to be the “Year of the Woman,” and the museum has launched a new website portal, video, and slate of community events to invite the global community to celebrate alongside the museum. See full details, and an interactive timeline recounting the museum’s history, at mintmuseum.org/80th/ .

“The Mint has planned a great year of exhibitions and events that showcase women’s contributions to the museum since its founding,” Andress said. “We hope the community will join us to help celebrate our 80th anniversary year.”

Added Dr. Jameson: “As the first woman to serve as President & CEO of The Mint Museum, and following in the steps of the many women who played instrumental roles over the years, I am pleased to be able to observe this historically significant event, and to help bring these two world-class exhibitions to the community.”

The Mint Museum’s building was originally the first branch of the U.S. Mint outside Philadelphia when it was constructed in 1836. It fell into disuse and was threatened with demolition by the 1930s, but a group of Charlotte residents led by Mary Myers Dwelle fought to preserve it and move it to its current location in Eastover, where it is now known as Mint Museum Randolph. It opened to the public on October 22, 1936. Mint Museum Uptown opened in 2010 as part of Levine Center for the Arts, the same year that Dr. Jameson became President & CEO.

Women of Abstract Expressionism on view Oct. 22, 2016-Jan. 22, 2017

This fall The Mint Museum is the only East Coast venue for this groundbreaking exhibition, the first major museum exhibition to focus on the innovative women artists affiliated with the Abstract Expressionist movement during its seminal years between 1945 and 1960.

The exhibition, which was on view at the Denver Art Museum through September 25, has garnered significant attention from press and critics across the country, with Time Magazine calling it an “indispensable show.” Along with shining a spotlight on the women who were key participants in the movement, the exhibition also emphasizes the role that artists working on the West Coast played in its development. It also reveals the broad range of styles and techniques that these artists employed, from pouring and staining to slashing and swirling brushwork.

Visitors to Mint Museum Uptown will be delighted and inspired by approximately 50 energetic, colorful, large-scale paintings created by 12 of these artists. While some of the women are well-known, such as Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Grace Hartigan, the work of others, ranging from Judith Godwin, Perle Fine, and Deborah Remington to Jay DeFeo and Sonia Getchoff, will be a revelation. 

Women of Abstract Expressionism will be accompanied by a variety of engaging lectures and events as well as a fully-illustrated catalogue published by Yale University Press featuring contributions by its curator, Dr. Gwen Chanzit, and scholars Robert Hobbs, Ellen Landau, Susan Landauer, Joan Marter, and Irving Sandler. Following its run at the Mint, the exhibition will travel to Palm Springs Art Museum in February 2017.

This exhibition is presented to the community by Wells Fargo Private Bank. Additional generous support provided by Duke Energy, Electrolux, the Mint Museum Auxiliary, and Davidson College.

Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists from the Toledo Museum of Art exclusively on view at the Mint Oct. 22, 2016-Feb. 26, 2017

Color and form create instinctual appeal in glass – the most versatile and seductive of materials. Fired Up, co-organized by the Mint and the Toledo Museum of Art and exclusively on view at Mint Museum Uptown, is the first American art museum exhibition about contemporary women artists who work with glass.

At the beginning of the studio glass movement that originated at the Toledo Museum of Art in the 1960s, women were overshadowed by their male counterparts, rarely encouraged to explore glass techniques by their teachers, and discouraged from entering the field due to the financial commitment required to operate a glass studio, from equipment to the team of assistants necessary to the collaborative process of studio glass. Today, in the “post studio” era, the situation has changed; here and abroad, women are among the most innovative glass artists and their contributions to both the technical and content aspects of their art are exceptional.

Fired Up presents outstanding glass sculptures from Toledo’s renowned Glass Pavilion as well as recent acquisitions to their collection, on view for the first time in this exhibition, selected by co-curators Jutta-Annette Page, Senior Curator of Glass and Decorative Arts at Toledo, and Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design, & Fashion at the Mint. The Mint’s exceptional collection of contemporary glass is internationally praised, with works such as Danny Lane’s Threshold and Bertil Vallien’s King’s Voyage, but it contains few works by women (although the masterwork Relations, by Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, is a husband-and-wife collaboration). Only a handful of glass works created by female artists are in the permanent collection. Presenting Fired Up will fill a gap in glass education and hopefully inspire the collecting of works by women.

International in scope, over forty sculptures are included in the exhibition, including works by Emily Brock, Lee Bul, Lisa Lou, Karen Lamonte, Silvia Levenson, Maya Lin, Laura de Santillana, Sibylle Peretti, Sylvie Vandenhoucke, and April Surgent. Ranging in scale from the tiny to the monumental, the sculptures are organized into five thematic groups: abstraction, vessels, the human form, nature, and the built environment.

Both the Toledo Museum of Art and The Mint Museum have a strong commitment to developing new interpretative strategies for glass, and this exhibition provides an opportunity for additional collaboration in experimental approaches to visual literacy. The exhibition is presented with generous support from Novant Health and UTC Aerospace Systems.

Media partners for both exhibitions are The Charlotte Observer and Adams Outdoor Advertising, which has also organized the pop-up fashion exhibition Outdoor Is In , on view FREE at Mint Museum Uptown October 19-30.

Anniversary weekend festivities, October 21-23

The two new exhibitions open to the public amid the Mint’s celebration of its 80th anniversary. The museum will toast the exhibition openings with a by-invitation VIP celebration on Friday, October 21 at Mint Museum Uptown – watch for the Duke Energy tower to be lit in the Mint’s signature teal color on that evening. And the community is invited to a FREE day-long celebration at both museum locations on Saturday, October 22 – at Mint Museum Uptown, visitors will enjoy free access to both exhibitions along with lectures from curators of both exhibitions; and at Mint Museum Randolph, look for lots of family-friendly activities in celebration of the historic property and its surroundings. And on Sunday, October 23, the public is invited to another day of free admission at both locations, plus a free concert by accomplished pianist Dorothy “Dot” Lewis-Griffith, daughter-in-law of E.C. Griffith (1889-1973), who donated the three-acre tract of Eastover land on which the museum now sits. Her concert will feature music composed in the 1930s around the time of the Mint’s opening.

Further events throughout the “Year of the Woman” will invite the public to interact with the museum and its exhibitions. Find details at mintmuseum.org/happenings. The Mint is grateful for support from five of its previous female board chairs for its 80th anniversary activities: Mary Lou Babb, Beverly S. Hance, Patty Norman, Jo Ann Peer, and Pat Rodgers. As the museum’s video announcing the year-long celebration has noted: “The Great Lady is turning 80 – and she’s just getting warmed up.”

MEDIA NOTE:

High-resolution images from both exhibitions are available upon request. Email leigh.dyer@mintmuseum.org .

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