An Inspiring, Engaging, and Innovative Array of Shows

Following are highlights of the exhibition lineup at The Mint Museum for the coming year. High-resolution images for each exhibition are available upon request; email

European Art, 1750-1900
Mint Museum Randolph
17 November 2012 – Ongoing

Following the closure on 28 October of Celebrating Queen Charlotte’s Coronation, the upcoming reinstallation of the Alexander Gallery at Mint Museum Randolph will feature an inspiring selection of fine and decorative European arts from The Mint Museum’s collection, created between the mid-eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. These paintings and objects trace the wide range of styles and subjects popular in Western Europe during the period. Familiar audience favorites, such as Allan Ramsey’s majestic portraits of Queen Charlotte and King George III and the elegantly decorated sedan chair, will remain on view, and will be joined by other highlights from the collection including pastoral French Barbizon landscapes and light-filled impressionist scenes by artists including Eugène-Louis Boudin and Henri Martin.

A number of fascinating juxtapositions will link the fine and decorative arts, including a case containing ceramics adorned with images of Queen Charlotte, the city’s namesake, installed near her portrait by Allan Ramsay, and a black basalt sculpture by Josiah Wedgwood displayed near a portrait of his cousin, Thomas Wedgwood. Other objects on view showcase a combination of fine and decorative traditions, such as miniatures integrating painting and jewelsmithing, and the stately sedan chair, which incorporates elements of architectural design, fine woodworking, painting, and upholstery. This installation also highlights the generosity of local collectors and patrons and their importance to the museum, as many of the objects on view were donated by area families over the past fifty years.

Throughout 2013, visitors can expect to see many other installations celebrating The Mint Museum’s permanent collection at Mint Museum Randolph, including unique displays of American Art Glass, African Art, and Contemporary Fashion. Some will include collection items that have never before been on public view. Details of these installations will be announced in the coming months.

Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today / Sociales: Débora Arango llega hoy
Mint Museum Uptown
23 February – 16 June 2013

The Medellín-born painter Débora Arango, who died in 2005 at the age of 98, was one of the pioneers of modern Colombian art. She is considered one of the most important and controversial modern artists of her time. Although her work is well regarded today in her native country, Arango had to fight against the conservative elite’s prejudice throughout her life due to the political and social context of her paintings about the non-official civil war of the 1940s and 1950s, la época de La Violencia (1946-1963). Today, these paintings constitute an important site of collective memory.

Her work displays a sharp, perceptive, and courageous attitude, as she presented any political event in Latin America as if they were sociales (society columns). Her work clearly does not make use of “political correctness” as a strategy of dissemination and permanence.

This is the first show by Arango in the United States. Arango did not consider herself liberal or revolutionary, but she was critical of the society of her time and believed that art should be involved with the real world. Arango referred to herself as an “expressionist” to describe her strong desire to interpret reality through her own uncensored personal sensitivity and sensibility. At the beginning of the 1940s, Arango started to produce works about social concerns exploring themes such as prostitution, poverty, women’s issues, historical events, violence, and injustice, for which she is also known today.

This exhibition includes the most emblematic works from every stage of her career and is accompanied by a scholarly bilingual catalogue with color illustrations. It is curated by Oscar Roldán, Chief Curator at Museo de Arte de Medellín, Colombia. Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today is organized by Museo de Arte de Medellín (MAMM), Colombia, in collaboration with the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, California, for its U.S. tour.

Learning and engagement programming for Sociales: Débora Arango llega hoy / Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today is generously underwritten by the Mint Museum Auxiliary.

F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design)
Mint Museum Uptown
2 March – 7 July 2013

F.O.O.D.  (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) provides a thematic look at inventive modern and contemporary objects, handmade and mass produced, that have one of three objectives: to prepare, to cook, or to present food. It includes approximately 300 selections culled from the permanent collection of the Mint, loans, and new acquisitions. Artist Antoni Miralda of the research center FoodCultura, Barcelona, is co-curating and designing the installation.

The exhibition is organized into four sections. The first section, TABLE, is an intimate space with low light levels, and an abstracted dining table displaying various “invented” table settings such as plates, cutlery, glasswork, and centerpieces/candelabra by different makers and of different time periods.

KITCHEN is outfitted with “Über design” kitchen appliances and various levels of green production. Shelving installed in the kitchen holds objects made to prepare food, such as spice mills, cheese graters, ginger and garlic graters, bamboo steamers, mixing bowls, pots and pans, baking dishes, tagines, molds, and utensils. Ergonomic and green materials are also featured.

PANTRY is small and densely installed and features objects such as food and spice storage containers, mortars and pestles, tea tins, water bottles, noodle packages, chopsticks in paper, and grits packages,  as well as food advertising posters.

GARDEN is dramatically designed with objects in the shape of fruit and vegetables. Included in the exhibition will be a Resource Room, containing cookbooks and related books about sustainable food, gardening, health, and nutrition.

F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) is organized by The Mint Museum with FoodCultura, Barcelona. It will be the first fully bilingual Mint-organized exhibition, with all text panels and object labels in both English and Spanish.

Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto
Mint Museum Uptown
2 March – 26 May 2013

Motoi Yamamoto is an internationally renowned artist who calls his native Japan home. Yamamoto is known for working with salt, often in the form of temporary, intricate, large-scale installations. Salt, a traditional symbol for purification and mourning in Japanese culture, is used in funeral rituals and by sumo wrestlers before matches. It is frequently placed in small piles at the entrance to restaurants and other businesses to ward off evil spirits and to attract benevolent ones. Yamamoto forged a connection to the substance while mourning the death of his sister, at the age of twenty-four, from brain cancer, and began to create art out of salt in an effort to preserve his memories of her. His art radiates an intense beauty and tranquility, but also conveys something ineffable, painful, and endless.

“Drawing a labyrinth with salt is like following a trace of my memory. Memories seem to change and vanish as time goes by; however, what I seek is to capture a frozen moment that cannot be attained through pictures or writings,” Yamamoto has said. “What I look for at the end of the act of drawing could be a feeling of touching a precious memory.”

Motoi Yamamoto was born in Onomichi, Hiroshima in 1966 and received his B.A. from Kanazawa College of Art in 1995. He has exhibited his award-winning creations in such cities as Athens, Cologne, Jerusalem, Mexico City, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toulouse. He was awarded the Philip Morris Art Award in 2002 as well as the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2003. The artist will travel to The Mint Museum in spring 2013 to create a site-specific salt installation in public spaces over the course of two weeks.

This exhibition is organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston School of the Arts. The exhibition also features a series of recent drawings, photography, sketchbooks, a video about the artist, and a 170-page color catalogue documenting twelve years of the artist’s saltworks around the world. The catalogue includes essays by Mark Sloan, director and senior curator of the Halsey Institute, and Mark Kurlansky, author of the New York Times best seller Salt: A World History.

Learning and engagement programming for Return to the Sea: Saltworks by Motoi Yamamoto is generously underwritten by the Mint Museum Auxiliary.

Inventing the Modern World:  Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851-1939
Mint Museum Uptown
21 September 2013 – 19 January 2014

This groundbreaking international exhibition presents outstanding examples of glass, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, precious metalwork, and textiles displayed at the world’s fairs between The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London in 1851 and the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Many of these objects have never before left their respective institutions or countries.

World’s fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in modern living. Some fairs were broad in scope, displaying decorative arts alongside paintings, sculpture, industrial design and agricultural products; others concentrated on exhibiting decorative arts alone.  Both types of expositions functioned as showcases and marketplaces for design. Above all, they democratized design, exposing countless visitors and others to the latest artistic and technological achievements of their time.

Inventing the Modern World comprises approximately 200 objects shown at every major world’s fair from 1851 to 1939. Large and small in scale, these seminal objects are culled from private and public collections, primarily in America and Europe. Among the many lenders are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MAK – Museum for Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, Vienna, Designmuseum Danmark, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. A fully-illustrated scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition. This exhibition is co-organized by Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Major support for this exhibition was provided by Wells Fargo, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Learning and engagement programming for Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851-1939 is generously underwritten by the Mint Museum Auxiliary.

Above image credit:

Motoi Yamamoto

Labyrinth, 2012


Courtesy of the artist