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.

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 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 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 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 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.