Board of Trustees Annual Meeting, Party in the Park are May 31; And the Bead Goes On and Heritage Gallery Exhibitions Will Open to Public

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 25, 2012) – The Mint Museum is preparing to unveil its two newest exhibitions, celebrating both its past and future, at the same time its Board of Trustees invites the community to join the museum in a 75th anniversary celebration.

May 31 is a significant day at the museum, as The Mint Museum Board of Trustees holds its annual meeting, open to museum members only, at 5:30 p.m. at Mint Museum Randolph, followed by Party in the Park at 6:30 p.m., which is open to the public. A revival of the Mint’s former “Jazzy Ladies” tradition, the event will invite visitors to bring picnics, hear live music, and see a screening of the movie “Hugo” under the stars at 8:30 p.m. The event caps the celebration of the Mint’s 75th anniversary year and raises money for the Mint Annual Fund – admission is $10 for non-members, $5 for members, and free for children under 18.

During the evening, the public is invited to the opening of two new exhibitions: And the Bead Goes On, celebrating the Mint’s renowned Fashion Collection by showcasing a variety of historic beaded garments along with cutting-edge contemporary runway fashions; and Heritage Gallery, which celebrates the Mint’s 75-year history as the state’s first art museum with a display of photos, artifacts, and art, plus a detailed historical timeline. (Rain cancels the outdoor portion of the events, but galleries will be open from 5:30-9 p.m. regardless).

“The Mint has much to celebrate on May 31, from its history as an innovator to its present as a center for inspiration to its future as a global leader among art museums,” said Richard T. “Stick” Williams, outgoing chair of The Mint Museum Board of Trustees. “We hope the community will join us to enjoy the latest cutting-edge exhibitions the Mint has on view, and will find many reasons to return.”

And the Bead Goes On

Alber Elbaz for Lanvin; Oscar de la Renta;  Halston; Bob Mackie; Giorgio Armani; Lisa Folawiyo. These designers, both classic and contemporary, have all earned acclaim for their use of inventive beadwork on their fashions. And they’re among those featured in And the Bead Goes On, on view through February 2013, which will display twentieth and twenty-first century women’s garments from the museum’s Fashion Collection, supplemented by additional contemporary looks hot off the runways.

“This exhibition includes some of the top talents in the fashion world – from America, France, India, Nigeria, and elsewhere,” said Charles Mo, the Mint’s director of fine arts. “These fashions present unique statements of creativity that speak to the human passion for beauty, adornment, and identity.”

This seemingly modern surface decoration, the variety of bead materials and shapes, and the basic sewing techniques used to embellish the fashions on view were developed in Paris workshops in the eighteenth century. Glass beads, metallic sequins, metal filigree beads, faux pearls, and faceted crystal rhinestones hand-sewn onto the cloth impart beauty, opulence, and artful originality.

Among the dresses in the exhibition is one by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin that can’t be seen anywhere else in the country except the Mint. The exhibition also marks the first time Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo has been featured in an American museum. “The Mint is dedicated to presenting the most innovative fashion in the world, and today a lot is happening outside the Paris/New York/Tokyo axis in places such as Lebanon, India, and South Africa,” said Annie Carlano, the Mint’s director of craft + design.

Also featured in the exhibition is a 17-year-old Charlotte designer, Kevin Carter (who uses the label kevinVain). In response to being bullied in school, he turned to fashion design as an escape, and began experimenting with dyes and shards of glass on clothing designs. That led him to be noticed by organizers of local fashion shows, which eventually led to his discovery by the Mint. The museum selected Carter, who produces hand-beaded garments, in part to pay tribute to Charlotte’s own emerging fashion scene, making the exhibition both local and international. “I strive to challenge the way Charlotteans view fashion. I want to change what is accepted in society as ‘beautiful’ or ‘cool,’” he said. “I’m still in shock that at age 17 my work is on exhibit alongside some of the gurus in fashion and pop culture.”

Heritage Gallery

The Mint Museum opened on October 22, 1936. Since its inception as the first art museum in North Carolina, it has held a central place in the history of Charlotte. The building was constructed in 1837 as the first branch of the U.S. Mint, and originally stood on West Trade Street in uptown Charlotte between Mint and Graham Streets. In 1932, this historic building was saved from demolition through the efforts of a small group of passionate, dedicated citizens, and moved to its current site on Randolph Road.

Unlike many art museums, which are established to house an existing collection, the Mint had neither an art collection nor the financial reserves to assemble one. Instead, it was founded upon the dream to create and preserve a unique cultural legacy for future generations. From these modest beginnings, the museum has grown into an internationally recognized institution with a collection of over 34,000 objects. Over the decades, the museum has expanded four times to accommodate the growing collection and increasingly global audience: in 1968, 1983, 1999, and 2010.

“The museum has a very unique and inspiring history that many people aren’t familiar with—it was built upon the dreams of group of hard-working, dedicated citizens who rallied the support of the entire community to establish a cultural center for the region,” said Amber Smith, curatorial assistant, special projects at the Mint. “It is a truly grassroots American story that will strike a chord with many. The exhibition will include key works of art and objects from the Mint’s collection, as well as never-before seen photographs and archival documents that give a rare glimpse into the Mint’s incredible journey, and the many people who have made this journey possible.”

The exhibition has been crafted to occupy the central space surrounding the Van Every Theatre on the first floor of Mint Museum Randolph, and will remain on view long-term.

Exhibition opens April 28, concurrent with Matthew Weinstein spotlight exhibition, and is one of four new shows adding to the Mint’s 2012 lineup

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 20, 2012) – The Mint Museum has added four new exhibitions to its lineup for 2012, beginning with one opening this month that pays tribute to two treasured patrons of the local arts community, Emily and Zach Smith.

Colorbind: The Emily and Zach Smith Collection will be on view at Mint Museum Uptown from April 28 through August 12, and runs concurrently with the previously-announced multimedia Matthew Weinstein spotlight exhibition on view April 28-August 19.  Colorbind consists of nearly two dozen paintings, lithographs, etchings, and drawings collected by the Smiths.

Colorbind offers our visitors the opportunity to experience a selection of works by some of the most important modern and contemporary artists of the 20th and 21st centuries,” said Brad Thomas, the Mint’s curator of contemporary art. “More importantly, it offers an intimate glimpse into a private collection that informs and enlivens the everyday lives of Emily and Zach Smith, two of our region’s most important cultural supporters. We are extremely grateful to the Smiths for making this work available for display at the Mint for the benefit of our community.”

For over three decades, the Smiths have tirelessly dedicated themselves to improving the cultural infrastructure of this region. Through their patronage and extensive service on various boards including the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra,  The Mint Museum, Opera Carolina, and Penland School of Crafts, to name a few, their community investment has touched the lives of countless individuals.

This intimate display of works illuminates a decidedly more personal side of the couple’s relationship to art. One small landscape painting on view by North Carolina artist Claude Howell (1915 ­- 1997) was selected jointly even before their marriage. It was an auspicious beginning for lives that would be bound by a devotion to family, community, and the arts.

As for their own personal taste in visual art, the Smiths confess a shared love of color. Works by Pop artists Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Wayne Thiebaud play alongside geometric abstractions by Peter Halley, Sol Lewitt, and Sean Scully –– vibrant color binding each creative voice into the collectors’ unified vision. This exhibition is organized by The Mint Museum.

Colorbind and the other three exhibitions we are announcing today further the Mint’s role of serving the increasingly global community of Charlotte and beyond,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “From celebrating treasured local art collectors in the Smiths to tapping the unparalleled scope of our Fashion Collection to showcasing the unique and diverse viewpoints of renowned artists Vik Muniz and Beverly McIver, the Mint offers depth and range that is unmatched.”

Both Colorbind and Matthew Weinstein will be celebrated at a special event at 6:30 p.m. May 3 at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street. Weinstein, a multimedia artist, will appear with Robert Goolrick, acclaimed author of A Reliable Wife. After a viewing of Weinstein’s short film “The Childhood of Bertolt Brecht,” the artist and the author will discuss the importance of the role of narrative in art. The event costs $10 for Mint members; $20 for non-members; free to students with valid ID; and includes a reception immediately following. Pre-registration is required; visit and click “Calendar.”

And the Bead Goes On

26 May 2012 – 17 February 2013

Mint Museum Randolph

May brings the opening of the next exciting exhibition from the Mint’s nationally-renowned collection of fashion. The Mint has recently renamed its Historic Costume & Fashionable Dress collection the Fashion Collection.

And the Bead Goes On pays tribute to a form of ornamentation that has been used to enliven fashion designs since ancient times. Originally restricted to the wardrobes of aristocrats and made of precious materials, beads indicated wealth and status in numerous cultures throughout the globe. Sometimes beadwork was employed on garments to convey rank, spiritual significance, or protection of the wearer. Colorful and sparkling beads appeared on articles of clothing, ceremonial dress, ritual masks, and everyday objects.

And the Bead Goes On features 20th– and 21st-century women’s fashions, which display inventive beadwork embroidery. This seemingly modern surface decoration, the variety of bead materials and shapes, and the basic sewing techniques used to embellish the works on view were developed in Paris workshops in the 18th century. Talented designers and skillful artisans collaborate to achieve dazzling fashions that are comfortable and durable. Glass beads, metallic sequins, metal filigree beads, faux pearls, and faceted crystal rhinestones hand-sewn onto the cloth impart beauty, opulence, and artful originality.

Fashion was democratized in the 1960s, and previously exclusive beaded style became available to all. The fashion industry today, while still centered in Paris, includes major designers from India, Lebanon, and Nigeria, and elsewhere. And the Bead Goes On presents evening gowns, cocktail dresses, and ensembles from the museum’s Fashion Collection, complemented with exciting new works on loan from contemporary designers. Designer names featured in the exhibition include Halston, Bob Mackie, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta, and Alber Elbaz for Lanvin.

This exhibition, organized by The Mint Museum, will open at Mint Museum Randolph concurrently with the previously-announced Heritage Gallery, a look through the Mint’s 75-year history as the oldest art museum in North Carolina.

VantagePoint X: Vik Muniz

25 August 2012 – 24 February 2013

Mint Museum Uptown

Although Vik Muniz was born into poverty in Sao Paulo in 1961, he has arguably become the most famous contemporary Brazilian artist. His conceptual photographs are exhibited internationally, and he is represented in significant museum collections throughout the world. Beginning his art career in the mid-1980s after relocating to the U.S., Muniz established a studio in Brooklyn, where he creates large photographs that mimic recognizable images borrowed from the media or historical paintings.

Muniz’s recreations of famous paintings are notable for their uncanny attention to detail and the non-traditional nature of the media he chooses. Muniz painstakingly gathers such discarded objects as tires, bolts, coils of wire, broken appliances, and soda cans, arranging them on a warehouse floor in piles and layers to create representations of iconic paintings by historical artists. After this labor-intensive process is complete, Muniz photographs the massive creation from a balcony above, thereby preserving the final appearance before the image is disassembled.

Collectively, Muniz’s photographs bring to mind ideas of ecology, impermanence, and mortality. Muniz’s photographs, which intentionally incorporate discarded materials, implicate the viewer in a consumerist, transitory culture. His photographs fuse two important strands of postmodern photography—staging and appropriation. Staging, which is the creation of an image through choreographing all visual components of the photograph; and appropriation, which is borrowing imagery from a source of reference, in this case historically significant paintings from the Western tradition. The resulting photographs are both fascinating and disarming, and probe the function and traditions of visual representation. This exhibition is organized by The Mint Museum.

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver

20 October 2012 – 6 January 2013

Mint Museum Uptown

McIver, a native of North Carolina, 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. The exhibition celebrates the last decade of her work and highlights these two subjects, focusing solely on her self-portraits and on portraits of Renee and other family members.

McIver is widely acknowledged as a significant presence in contemporary American art, examining racial, gender, and social identities through the lens of her own experiences as an African American female artist. The history of her family allows McIver to contemplate and illustrate the complicated emotions that arise from these situations, including depression, frustration, tender compassion, and innocent joy.

Accompanied by an exhibition catalogue, Reflections includes numerous loans from the artist, private collections, and select museums. 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.