Franklin Fifth Helena by Cynthia Talmadge

Franklin Fifth Helena is an architectural installation within the Contemporary Gallery at Mint Museum Uptown comprised of sand-painted wall panels that create a fantastical imaging of the real-life intertwined lives of the movie icon Marilyn Monroe and her psychoanalyst Dr. Ralph Greenson.

Franklin Fifth Helena


By Jen Sudul Edwards

On November 4, 2022, Mint Museum Uptown opened a new major acquisition to the collection: Franklin Fifth Helena by Brooklyn-based artist Cynthia Talmadge.

An 8-by-11-foot room built within the gallery, the installation is comprised of sand-painted wall panels and a ceiling that create a fantastical imaging of the intertwined lives of the movie icon Marilyn Monroe and her psychoanalyst Dr. Ralph Greenson. The result is mesmerizing and surprising in every way: the sand — intricately mixed by hand and meticulously applied to the surface with fine paintbrushes— mimics the precise color studies of 19th-century Impressionists and Pointillists while utilizing a simple commercial material (Talmadge often buys her sand in bulk from wedding supply companies).

The recognizable objects layer and interact to create an imagined narrative about the relationship between Monroe and Greenson, who treated Monroe at the end of her life. While very specific in her references, Talmadge also explores the complicated ramifications of the cult of personality, the patient-doctor relationship, and how all of these affect the limited power and agency granted to women in this country.

Talmadge’s gallery, 56 Henry, arranged for outside donors to support the acquisition of the work by The Mint Museum, but the on-site build was extensive and complicated. The Mint’s architect-of-record, Aubrey Springer, oversaw the construction and permit process, which required additional lights and sprinkler systems to be installed to meet code, as well as extensive coordination with the Mint’s building staff, the Collections and Exhibitions team, 56 Henry, and Talmadge — who came to Charlotte for a week in October to help with the installation.

Learn more Talmadge and her fascinating and complicated process in the video below, generously underwritten by Aaron and Marie Ligon who are helping the Mint further build a competitive and compelling contemporary art collection.

Jen Sudul Edwards, PhD, is chief curator and curator of contemporary art.

Screen print painting depicts North Carolina native and Hall of Fame inductee.

The Mint Museum has acquired a painting of North Carolinian and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Nina Simone.

Nina Simone is by British artist Russell Young. “Having such a beautiful portrait of a N.C. native who was such a strong African-American woman, activist, and performer will add to our contemporary art collection here. Plus, I think it will be such a popular piece with our audiences,” said Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s senior curator of American, Modern, & Contemporary Art. He made the choice with former Assistant Curator Adam Justice, now Director of Galleries at UNC Charlotte.

Russell Young was born in 1959 in Northern England. From an early age, he was drawn to the idea of the quintessential “American dream,” which he thought represented freedom and possibility. Known for his bold, iconic silkscreen paintings of pop imagery turned upon themselves to explore the nature of the American counter culture as seen through the eyes of his youth, his bold ground breaking screen print renditions present a visual journey that bears witness to both the excess and ambition that has helped shape the American Dream. His prints are a brooding and sometimes brutal celebration of the characters and events that glamorize and chastise in equal measure. Whether through direct visual reference or by title, the works set out to both assert and challenge our perception and understanding of what it is to be American in the 21st century.

His body of work includes paintings, screen prints, sculptures, installations and film. He has shown in galleries and museums in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, New York, Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles. His work is included in the collections of Aby Rosen, The Qatari Royal Family, Kate Moss, David Bowie, Liz Taylor, Barack Obama, The Albertina Museum, The Saatchi Collection and Brad Pitt.

The screen print painting, embedded with diamond dust, is not yet on view but will go out in the coming months, following a grand re-opening celebration for Mint Museum Uptown this fall; watch for updates.

Exhibition is part of eight-exhibition In Focus/Enfoque project thanks to Bank of America

Develar y Detonar (Reveal and Detonate): Contemporary Mexican Photography features the powerful, thought-provoking work of more than 40 of Mexico’s leading photographers. This not-to-be-missed exhibition, on view from October 28, 2017 through June 17, 2018 at Mint Museum Uptown, examines the wide range of approaches that these photographers use to explore subjects, ranging from their own personal histories and relationships to their engagement with the country’s diverse landscape to pressing social and political issues ranging from land use, drug trade, and immigration to beauty, sexuality, and gender.

Media and special guests may preview the exhibition at 10 a.m. on Thursday October 26 at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street in Charlotte. RSVP to .

Ranging in size from a few inches across to floor-to-ceiling murals, some of these works are highly formal; others make a play for sheer beauty; still others are manipulated or staged to instill a sense of magic and wonder. Develar y Detonar promises to open an engaging dialogue around the power of photography to both document and question many aspects of modern life, examining issues that are not isolated to residents of Mexico but that stretch across cultures and borders. This exhibition is drawn from the Televisa Foundation’s rich collection of contemporary art; after having been seen in Madrid and Mexico City, The Mint Museum’s presentation marks its North American debut.

“I am honored that The Mint Museum was given the opportunity to be the first museum in the country to host this important exhibition. The Mint has a long relationship with Charlotte’s Latino community, which is one of the fastest growing in the country,” said Dr. Jonathan Stulhman, the Mint’s curator of American, Modern, & Contemporary Art. “While the photographers featured in this exhibition are all based in Mexico and draw upon subjects and themes that are a part of their daily lives and personal histories, we believe that many of these topics transcend borders and offer the opportunity for a rich dialogue in our community. The work in the show is at turns thought-provoking, beautiful, shocking, and humorous: an unfiltered, no-holds-barred snapshot of contemporary life.”

Develar y Detonar is also the central exhibition in a community-wide initiative celebrating Mexican photography titled In Focus/Enfoque: Contemporary Photography in Mexico, which involves many arts and cultural organizations across Charlotte this fall including Bechtler Museum of Modern Art; LACA (Latin American Contemporary Art) Projects; The Light Factory; McColl Center for Art + Innovation; New Gallery of Modern Art; and SOCO Gallery.

“We modeled this community-wide initiative after a program we sponsored in Los Angeles called Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, which featured Latin American and Latino art at 70+ institutions,” added Allen Blevins, Bank of America’s director of Global Art & Heritage Programs. “In Focus/Enfoque provides a unique opportunity for Charlotte to highlight the contributions of Hispanic and Latin American artists and spark community dialogue on the topics raised within these collections.”

Reveal and Detonate (Develar y Detonar): Contemporary Mexican Photography is organized and circulated by Televisa Foundation, Hydra Photography, and Centro de la Imagen. It is presented to the Charlotte community with support from Bank of America.

It is accompanied by educational programs including a panel discussion featuring leaders in Mexican-American relations; a Latin Music Concert featuring “Music of Mexico;” an educator workshop; and a series of dates throughout spring 2018 when Spanish-language interpreters will be available in the galleries to answer visitors’ questions. Details available at

“The fact that so many visual arts organizations have come together for this initiative speaks to the community engagement we have here in Charlotte,” said Charles Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina and Mint Museum board member. “We’re proud to be a convener of In Focus/Enfoque and provide an opportunity to feature important, thought-provoking work of these artists.”

As a major supporter of arts and culture across the region, Bank of America led the planning, collaboration, and funding of In Focus/Enfoque: Contemporary Photography in Mexico. The Arts & Science Council is supporting collaborative community engagement and programming efforts. For details, visit .

Note: Visitors may find some subject matter challenging.

IMAGE: Fernando Montiel Klint. Estudio de campo, from the series Muro de la Concentración II, 2014, chromogenic print.

Seven cultural institutions collaborate on unprecedented project

In Focus/Enfoque, an ambitious multi-institution exhibition of contemporary Mexican photography, will take place in Charlotte from August 2017 through spring 2018. Inspired by the highly successful Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, this unique collaboration features more than 50 artists from Mexico and the United States. As an exploration of diverse topics and themes—including design, gender, activism, identity, globalism, and borders—In Focus/Enfoque will showcase a wide variety of contemporary art in dialogue with the Queen City.

As a major supporter of arts and culture across the region, Bank of America led the planning, collaboration, and funding of In Focus/Enfoque. The Arts & Science Council is supporting collaborative community engagement and programming efforts.


The Mint Museum

Reveal and Detonate: Contemporary Photography in Mexico

Develar y Detonar: Fotografía Contemporánea en México

October 28, 2017 to June 17, 2018

Mexico is an ever-changing nation with a rich cultural history; yet it also has undergone deep social, political, and ideological transformations during the modern era.  Reveal and Detonate , the anchor exhibition of In Focus/Enfoque, offers a compelling survey of the work of more than 30 contemporary Mexican photographers, with intergenerational artists coming together to draw a complex, contradictory, and thought-provoking map of present-day Mexico. The Mint Museum will be the first U.S. venue for this exhibition, which has previously appeared in Madrid in 2015 and Mexico City in 2016.


The Light Factory

Exposed/Expuesta: Exploring Identity in Contemporary Mexican Photography

August 24 to October 13, 2017

Mexico’s complex history has created an equally complex society. Over time, it has absorbed various different cultures and traditions, combining strong Catholic values with beliefs from other religions, and mixing influences from foreign cultures with indigenous, pre-Hispanic customs. Exposed/Expuesta will feature work by 10 contemporary artists who use photography to question and challenge notions of identity through personal and cultural explorations of their own environment.


McColl Center for Art + Innovation

Nelson Morales, Artist-in-Residence

August 28 to December 5, 2017

In Focus/Enfoque artist Nelson Morales focuses on sexual diversity in different cultures—mainly the community of muxe, a third gender—on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, part of the state of Oaxaca. This fall, Morales will be an artist-in-residence at McColl Center, where he plans to collaborate with Time Out Youth, a Charlotte-based organization dedicated to empowering LGBTQ youth. The artist will also conduct a three-part photography workshop in Spanish at McColl Center and The Light Factory.


Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Paul Strand in Mexico

September 1, 2017 to January 7, 2018

Already a respected photographer in the United States, Paul Strand lived in Mexico from 1932 to 1935 where he worked on Redes (1936), a film commissioned by the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education, and photographed the changing landscape and people of Mexico. Strand traveled the countryside photographing the small towns, churches, and the people who occupied the land. Twenty images were selected and published as a portfolio in 1940, titled Photographs of Mexico.

Maestros mexicanos de la fotografía moderna: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Carrillo, Flor Garduño, Graciela Iturbide y Mariana Yampolsky: Works from the Bank of America Collection

September 29, 2017 to March 4, 2018

The mid-20th century was a time of great change in post-Revolutionary Mexico as the sociopolitical landscape struggled to find stability. In these decades of flux, many artists captured the country’s efforts to establish a unified Mexican cultural identity. Maestros mexicanos de la fotografia moderna focuses on five modernist photographers who documented this period: Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902–2002), Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906–1989), Flor Garduño (Mexican, born 1957), Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, born 1942), and Mariana Yampolsky (Mexican, 1925–2002).


LaCa (Latin American Contemporary Art) Projects

Karina Juarez, Humberto Rios, and Alejandra Laviada

September 14 to November 4, 2017

Karina Juarez, Humberto Rios, and Alejandra Laviada, an award-winning trio of emerging contemporary photographers, present powerful works in the gallery’s first-ever photography exhibition. The photographs present varying themes and images, ranging from identity and personal loss to metaphorical and autobiographical elements, and create striking visual narratives taken from the personal experiences of the artists, as well as from conceptual ideas and practices. All three artists have extensive artistic training and have been featured in international solo and collective exhibitions.



New Gallery of Modern Art

Phyllis Galembo: Mexico

October 18 – November 27, 2017

Using a direct, unaffected portrait style, Phyllis Galembo captures her subjects informally posed and strikingly attired in ritualistic dress. Her work illuminates the transformative power of costume and ritual — a complex, mysterious, and profound tradition in which the participants transcend the physical world and enter the spiritual realm. Her subjects, chosen from Africa and the Americas, have resourcefully cobbled together materials gathered from their immediate environment to create beguiling representations of mythical figures important to their culture. The photographs shown here are small sampling of the raw portraits Galembo took at important cultural and religious events throughout Mexico between 2008 and 2017. During religious holidays such as Semana Santa, Easter Week, Corpus Christi, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, families throughout Mexico participate in masquerade events. Creating costumes and masks made of body paint, cardboard, leather, cloth, paper mache, plants, and corn, these striking, unique assemblages embody the beliefs and cultural values of the community and pay homage to their ancestors.


SOCO Gallery

Alejandro Cartagena: Home

December 13, 2017 to January 12, 2018

Alejandro Cartagena: Home is an exhibition of photographs from the Monterrey, Mexico-based artist, featuring works from his “Carpoolers” and “Mexicana Suburbia” series. Cartagena’s works employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues. His images have been exhibited internationally and are in the collections of several museums including the SFMOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Portland Museum of Art, the Museo de Arte Moderno in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Fototeca de Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and the Fototeca Nacional in Pachuca, Mexico. This will be the artist’s first exhibition in North Carolina.


Note: Parents may wish to preview the exhibitions before viewing with younger visitors.



In Focus/Enfoque: Fotografía Contemporánea en México

In Focus/Enfoque es una ambiciosa exhibición multiinstitucional de fotografía contemporánea mexicana la cual tomará lugar en Charlotte desde agosto del 2017 hasta la primavera del 2018. Inspirada por el altamente exitoso Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, esta colaboración única presenta más de 50 artistas de México y los Estados Unidos. Como una exploración de diversos temas -incluyendo diseño, género, activismo, identidad, globalismo y fronteras- In Focus/Enfoque presentará una amplia variedad de arte contemporáneo en diálogo con la Ciudad Reina.

Como patrocinador principal de las artes y la cultura a través de la región, Bank of America lideró el planeamiento, la colaboración y el financiamiento de In Focus/Enfoque. La coordinación educativa y comunitaria es coordinada por el Arts & Science Council.


The Mint Museum

Develar y detonar: fotografía en méxico

Del 28 de octubre de 2017 al 17 de junio de 2018

México es una nación en cambio constante con una historia cultural densa a pesar de haber sufrido transformaciones sociales, políticas e ideológicas durante la era moderna. Develar y detonar, la exhibición central de In Focus/Enfoque, ofrece una muestra apasionante del trabajo de más de 30 fotógrafos contemporáneos mexicanos con artistas intergeneracionales que se unen para dibujar un mapa complejo, contradictorio, que invita a la reflexión del México de hoy. El Mint Museum será la primera plaza para esta exhibición en los Estados Unidos la cual ha sido vista previamente en Madrid en 2015 y en la Ciudad de México en 2016.


The Light Factory

Exposed/Expuesta: Explorando identidad en la fotografía mexicana contemporánea

Del 24 de agosto al 13 de octubre de 2017

La historia compleja de México ha creado una sociedad igualmente compleja. Con el tiempo, México ha absorbido varias culturas y tradiciones diferentes, combinando valores católicos fuertes con creencias de otras religiones y mezclando influencias de culturas extranjeras con costumbres indígenas y prehispánicas. Exposed/Expuesta presentará el trabajo de 10 artistas contemporáneos que usan la fotografía para cuestionar y desafiar las nociones de identidad a través de las exploraciones personales y culturales de sus propios ambientes.


McColl Center for Art + Innovation

Nelson Morales, artista en residencia

Del 28 de agosto al 5 de diciembre de 2017

El artista de In Focus/Enfoque Nelson Morales está enfocado en la adversidad sexual en diferentes culturas – principalmente en la comunidad de muxe, un tercer género – en el Istmo de Tehuantepec, parte del estado de Oaxaca. Este otoño, Morales será el último artista en residencia en el McColl Center donde planea colaborar con Time Out Youth, una organización con base en Charlotte, dedicada al fortalecimiento de la juventud LGBTQ. El artista también conducirá un taller de fotografía en español dividido en tres sesiones en el McColl Center y en The Light Factory.


Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

Paul Strand en México

Del 1ero de septiembre de 2017 al 7 de enero de 2018

Siendo un fotógrafo ya respetado en los Estados Unidos, Paul Strand vivió en México de 1932 a 1935 donde trabajó con Redes (1936), una película que le fue comisionada por el Secretario de Educación Pública de México, y fotografió el paisaje cambiante y la gente de México. Strand viajó por las áreas rurales fotografiando pequeños pueblos, iglesias y las personas que ocupaban la tierra. Veintiún imágenes fueron seleccionadas y publicadas en un portafolio titulado Fotografías de México en 1940.

Maestros mexicanos de la fotografía moderna: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Carrillo, Flor Garduño, Graciela Iturbide y Mariana Yampolsky: Obras de la colección de Bank of America

Del 29 de septiembre de 2017 al 4 de marzo de 2018

La mitad del siglo 20 fue un tiempo de gran cambio en el México post revolucionario donde el ámbito sociopolítico luchaba por encontrar estabilidad. Durante estas décadas de cambio continuo, muchos artistas capturaron los esfuerzos del país por establecer una identidad cultural mexicana unificada. Maestros mexicanos de la fotografía moderna se enfoca en cinco fotógrafos modernistas quienes documentan este período: Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexicano, 1902–2002), Manuel Carrillo (Mexicano, 1906–1989), Flor Garduño (Mexicana, nacida en 1957), Graciela Iturbide (Mexicana, nacida en 1942) y Mariana Yampolsky (Mexicana, 1925–2002).


LaCa (Latin American Contemporary Art) Projects

Karina Juarez, Humberto Ríos y Alejandra Laviada

Del 14 de septiembre al 4 de noviembre de 2017

Karina Juarez, Humberto Ríos y Alejandra Laviada, un trio galardonado de fotógrafos contemporáneos emergentes, presentan obras intensas en la primera exhibición de fotografía de la galería. Los fotógrafos presentan diversos temas e imágenes que oscilan entre la identidad y la pérdida personal, y elementos metafóricos y autobiográficos, creando narrativas visuales impresionantes tomadas tanto de las experiencias personales de los artistas como de ideas prácticas y conceptuales. Los tres artistas tienen un extenso entrenamiento artístico y su trabajo ha sido presentado en exhibiciones internacionales individuales y colectivas.


SOCO Gallery

Alejandro Cartagena: Home

Del 13 de diciembre de 2017 al 12 de enero de 2018

Alejandro Cartagena: Home es una exhibición de fotografías del Monterrey del artista mexicano que muestra obras de las series de sus “Carpoolers” y “Periferia Mexicana”. Las obras de Cartagena emplean paisaje y retrato como un medio de examinar asuntos sociales, urbanos y ambientales. Sus imágenes han sido exhibidas internacionalmente y están en las colecciones de varios museos incluyendo el SFMOMA, el Museo de Fotografía Contemporánea de Chicago, el Museo de Bellas Artes de Houston, el Museo de Arte de Portland, el Museo de Arte Moderno en Río de Janeiro, Brasil, la Fototeca de Nuevo León, México y la Fototeca Nacional en Pachuca, México. Esta será la primera exhibición del artista en Carolina del Norte.


Nota: Estas exhibiciones pueden abarcar temas y contenido para personas adultas incluyendo desnudos. Se sugiere a los padres visitar las exhibiciones antes de verlas con visitantes más jóvenes.

Exhibition from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to remain on view through September 3

The Mint Museum announces State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now , on view April 22 to September 3. The exhibition was organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, where it debuted in 2014, and features 75 works in sculpture, painting, drawing, video, and mixed media by 39 artists from every region of the U.S. The diverse range of styles and voices reflects what’s happening in American art right now. The exhibition examines how today’s artists are informed by the past, innovate with materials old and new, and engage deeply with issues relevant to their communities. The exhibition is presented in Charlotte by PNC Financial Services, with additional support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Young Affiliates of the Mint.

Members of the media are invited to preview the exhibition at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street in Charlotte. Light refreshments will be served and curatorial staff will be available for interviews. RSVP to the media preview to High resolution images are available upon request and media photography is permitted during the event.

The State of the Art exhibition culminated a year-long process in which Crystal Bridges’ curatorial team logged more than 100,000 miles, crisscrossing the country to visit artists in rural communities, small towns, and urban centers. The exhibition seeks to explore what is happening in studios and creative communities and then introduce those artists to a broader audience. The exhibition opened to unprecedented national attention, such as a feature on CBS Sunday Morning, placing State of the Art at the forefront of an ongoing discussion about art in America. Accolades include a 2015 Excellence in Exhibition Award from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

“I am very excited to share this exciting exhibition with our audience,” said Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s senior curator of American, Modern, & Contemporary Art. “Visitors are sure to delight in the diversity of its subject matter, artistic approaches, and mediums – there truly is something for everyone. State of the Art demonstrates the many ways in which contemporary art can intersect and connect with our daily lives and personal histories.”

“We know what art can do, how it changes perspectives, even lives,” said Weston M. Andress, PNC regional president of Western Carolina. “We are committed to supporting innovative, thought-provoking works such as this fine exhibition offered by The Mint Museum. We are proud to bring it to our community.”

Among the included artists are North Carolina’s own Bob Trotman and Peter Glenn Oakley. Trotman’s carved wooden sculptures are tongue-in-cheek examinations of the corporate lifestyle and derive from his own childhood memories of his father’s corporate persona. Oakley reimagines mundane objects, in this case a sewing machine, into elegant marble sculptures, shifting our attention away from their practical uses to the beauty of their design.

Other exhibited artworks include Drawing E. Obsoleta, a video by former North Carolina artist Jeff Whetstone, where the artist attempts to manipulate the writhing form of a black snake to create a line-drawing of the landscape. Pittsburgh artist Lenka Clayton approaches her creations from a maternal perspective. In her installation titled 63 Objects Taken Out of My Son’s Mouth, Clayton showcases an array of small objects that would have originally been stepped on, ignored, or thrown away, but are now interpreted as potentially life-threatening hazards. The largest exhibited work is by Brooklyn artist Jonathan Schipper. Slow Room is an installation evoking ‘grandma’s living room’ where all the furniture and adornments are tethered to a hidden winch. Each piece is slowly pulled toward the back of the room until nothing exists but a pile of destroyed objects. For Schipper, this is a metaphor for the gradual progress and ultimate end of life; the slow lapse of time keeps us unaware of gradual changes made to our minds and bodies throughout our lifetimes.

Four of the artists will visit the Mint to give FREE public talks during the exhibition, along with NexGen Mint workshops to teens 14-18 and other opportunities for interaction. They include Delita Martin, whose free talk will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday May 4; Bob Trotman, who appears at 6 p.m. on Wednesday June 14; Eyakem Gulilat at 6 p.m. on Thursday July 19; and Jeff Whetstone at 6 p.m. on Wednesday August 9. Exhibition programs are supported, in part, by the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation. For details and other information about public programming surrounding the exhibition, visit .

Above image: Carl Joe Williams (1970- ). American Shotgun, 2012, mixed media on found door. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo: Edward C. Robison III.

Organized by Jonell Logan from 300 Arts Project, The Exhibition Features work by artist Antoine Williams

Kidnapped Pagans is not your traditional exhibition. Organized by Jonell Logan, founder of 300 Art Project, this arts public/private art installation features work by former Charlotte resident Antoine Williams. Engaging in issues of history, culture, and the black experience, Williams combines drawing, painting, and collage to present and challenge the spaces that people of color occupy within our society.  This show will be on view in April 29-May 20th, 2017 in the Level 5 exhibition space at the Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts. The exhibition will be available FREE to the public during regular museum operating hours. Works of art will also be installed throughout various neighborhoods in Charlotte for up to three months beginning in late April.

Kidnapped Pagans is one model for community ownership and engagement in the arts. As an independent curator, Logan partnered with The Mint Museum, individual property owners, Charlotte Center City Partners, and Charlotte Urban Design, City of Charlotte, to bring the work to Charlotte. In addition to being at The Mint, work by Antoine Williams will be installed on newspaper kiosks and private buildings throughout Charlotte.  The intention is to expand the exhibition beyond the museum boundaries, foster personal interaction with the work within our communities, and expand our collective understanding of how and where art can impact our lives. We will announce the installation and de-installation schedule so that Charlotteans who are interested in meeting Antoine can not only see the process, but talk to him one on one about art, culture, and the questions raised by the work. These installations will remain in Charlotte for 1-3 months, depending on site.

This dually-installed, public exhibition allows for a continuation of support of new and experimental methods of contemporary art making in Charlotte. Kidnapped Pagans creates a timely and creative dialogue around class, race and narrative within the African America perspective. As Charlotte investigates its challenges with economic mobility and cultural exchange, Williams’ work provides a unique opportunity to engage contemporary art, culture, narrative in a way that can foster greater exchange and understanding in a growing and learning Charlotte.

This project was made possible with support from the Knight Foundation and the Pollination Project.

Exhibition Description:

Kidnapped Pagans

“…And this is what it means to be an American Negro, this is who he is-a kidnapped

pagan, who was sold like an animal and treated like one…”  -James Baldwin


“I’m African-American, I’m African. I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village

Pardon my residence. Came from the bottom of mankind, my hair is nappy… my nose is round

and wide.”  -Kendrick Lamar


Kidnapped Pagans is a site-specific installation of semi-autobiographical narrative vignettes by artist Antoine Williams. The installation, which will span the entirety of the front gallery, consisting of life-size figures made from wheat-paste and found object. These distorted figures are a part of the artist’s personal mythology, which, serves as metaphor for larger systemic issues that rest at the intersection of class, race, geography, and semiotics.

Also, within the space there will be one to two large to mid-size mixed media paintings that will encapsulate the narratives. Essentially this show will reflect the specifics of Black life in the southeast United States but echoes of contemporary issues we face as a nation.

About the Curator:

Kidnapped Pagans is organized by Jonell Logan, an independent curator and founder of 300 Arts Project. Logan recently curated the Lilith exhibition at The Light Factory, on view through April 6, 2017. Logan has worked at various museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

About the Artist:

Antoine Williams’ art practice is an investigation of his cultural identity through the exploration of societal signs as they relate to institutional inequities. He has created a mythology, which have become a narrative catalogue of loosely autobiographical humanoid beings that personify the complexities of perception, which can affect race, class, and masculinity. His works of art are heavily influenced by sci-fi literature from such authors as Octavia Butler and H.G. Wells. Themes in science fiction can be analogous to the Black experience in America. Therefore, Williams has created a world of beings that personify the complexity within hierarchies of power in everyday life. These figures manifest as mixed-media installations, paintings, drawings, and collage. These entities reference the Dadaist, who appropriated and re-contextualized images from society in order to create “anti-art”. Namely Hans Arp, who considered the destruction of “signs” as a subversive act. The signs he is interested in are tropes associated with the Black body within the American psyche.

In the vein of Felix Gonzales-Torres, Williams has a concern for making the personal, public. These beings (which are nameless) are inspired by personal experiences from a rural working class, upbringing, in Red Springs, North Carolina that related to wider contemporary concerns. Inspired by the Amiri Baraka poem “Something in the Way of Things”, these beings live in the intangible spaces that exist between the nuances of class and race. They are both born of and perpetuate the actions and thought processes due to social reproduction. They exist in an abstracted purgatory.

Kay Sage’s Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool is a key acquisition of the Mint’s ongoing Collections Initiative

The Mint Museum was the high bidder at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale Thursday for American Surrealist Kay Sage’s 1947 oil on canvas Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool.

The purchase was the third made possible by a Charlotte philanthropist who made a significant cash gift in 2013 as part of the museum’s ongoing Collections Initiative ; the funds were devoted specifically to the acquisition of 20th century painting. Earlier that year, the same philanthropist’s foundation provided funds for the Mint to acquire the painting Trumpet Flowers by the American artist Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1890-1973). The painting is on view at Mint Museum Uptown. This year the museum purchased Alson Skinner Clark’s important canvas, In the Lock, Miraflores, one of the stars of its recent exhibition focusing on the centennial of the Panama Canal . In the Lock, Miraflores is currently on loan to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for an exhibition celebrating the centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, and will be back on view at the Mint in spring 2016.

Sage’s powerful work was last on view at the Mint for its groundbreaking 2012 exhibition Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy , co-curated by the Mint’s Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman, who is one of the leading experts in the world on Sage’s art. That exhibition was the first major museum exhibition devoted to Sage since the 1970s.

The vast majority of Sage’s work was donated to museums upon her death; therefore, only the handful that sold during her lifetime now appear on the market. No others in private hands from this critical period of Sage’s career feature the same combination of scale, quality, and personal resonance found in Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool. “This is very likely the best painting by Sage that will ever appear on the market, particularly at this scale,” said Stuhlman.

Along with Dorothea Tanning, Joseph Cornell, and photographer Man Ray, Sage (1898-1963) was one of the leading American Surrealists, and perhaps the American painter most closely allied with the original group of French Surrealists given her marriage to Frenchman Yves Tanguy. Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool is a prime example of Sage’s signature style, which incorporates her interest in haunting, desolate landscapes, beautifully-rendered yet enigmatic forms, and sophisticated variations in tone and hue. It is also an early work in which she is has begun to explore ways to incorporate her unique “scaffolding” – a compositional element that scholars have argued set her work apart from that of her peers. The Mint’s Stuhlman was the first scholar to decode the work’s title, which he believes refers to the traditional anniversary gifts for a couple’s sixth and seventh anniversaries – 1947 was the seventh anniversary of the couple’s wedding and the sixth of their move from New York to Woodbury, Connecticut.

Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool is the second major American Surrealist painting to enter the museum’s collection, following the gift of Gordon Onslow Ford’s The Love Knot in 2013, which represents a very different take on Surrealism and has a very different aesthetic. “It is well in line with the museum’s desire to add significant works of art from the modern era to its collection, as well as its efforts to bolster its holdings of work by women artists,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint.

Staff reporter Kelly Crow of The Wall Street Journal noted the significance of the Mint’s purchase minutes after it occurred, tweeting out : “Kay Sage, the long-overlooked surrealist because she’s a she, gets a nice boost when her ‘Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool’ sells for $1 million, 10 times high estimate.”

Significant acquisitions to continue

“Not only will this gift enhance the experience of visiting the Mint for both Charlotte residents and our global visitors, but it will elevate the Mint’s role in cultural and economic development for the region,” said Jameson.

The prior acquisition, Trumpet Flowers, an oil on canvas created in 1919, is a rare example of Synchromism, a movement developed by Macdonald-Wright and his colleague Morgan Russell in Paris in 1913 that attempted to synthesize art and music through the use of color. It was acquired by the museum at Sotheby’s 2013 spring auction of American Art. The canvas by Clark had been on long-term loan to the museum from a private collector since the opening of Mint Museum Uptown in 2010. It is the first example of Clark’s paintings of the Canal to enter a museum collection.

In 2013, the museum announced the launch of its three-year Collections Initiative with the help of Bank of America, which donated Untitled (Seafirst) 1979 (38 x 19 feet) by California artist Sam Francis to the museum.

Other major gifts of works of art credited to the Initiative include the large abstract canvas Scotland (1960) by American artist Grace Hartigan, currently on view in the same gallery as Trumpet Flowers; and the video installation Orbit 12 by Jennifer Steinkamp, on view in the Level 4 Media Gallery, both given by the Mint Museum Auxiliary. Other announced gifts include Hoss Haley’s White Ripple, funded by the  Windgate Foundation, and Jens Praet’s Shredded Side Table, donated by the artist.

Above image:

Kay Sage (1898-1963)
Ring of Iron, Ring of Wool
signed and dated ‘Kay Sage ’47’ (lower right); signed and dated again, titled and inscribed ‘SAGE 1947 RING OF IRON RING OF WOOL WOODBURY CONN.’ (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
54 x 37 7/8 in. (137 x 96.2 cm.)
Painted in 1947


Mint has also recently opened two other spotlight exhibitions with Charlotte connections

Back in November, the eyes of Charlotte turned toward Tryon Street, where 138 local photographers captured a simultaneous panoramic shot of a mile-long stretch of Tryon Street. And now, the resulting prints – 100 feet long – are going on view to the public FREE in a pop-up gallery inside Mint Museum Uptown.

Moment Mile will be on view in the museum’s Level 5 expansion space – raw, unfinished space on the museum’s top floor that was first used last fall for The Boombox Project, a pop-up gallery of photos by Lyle Owerko. This new project, which will occupy even more of the space first glimpsed during the Boombox run, will continue the museum’s recent emphasis on showcasing photography.

From December 17, 2014 through February 22, 2015, the Moment Mile gallery is open FREE to the public during regular museum hours – 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Museum visitors can receive special admission stickers to visit the Level 5 gallery without paying museum admission fees. The Moment Mile project has received generous support from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Wells Fargo, and the Arts & Science Council.

“Participatory projects like Moment Mile are a new avenue that involve the Charlotte community in what we are doing at The Light Factory, and more broadly involve others in the art of film and photography,” said Sean Busher, The Light Factory board member and Charlotte advertising photographer.

The new exhibition coincides with two new spotlight shows from the Mint’s own permanent collection – one from a photographer who got her own start at The Light Factory, and the other from the most famous artist born in Charlotte.

In the Mint’s Level 4 Modern & Contemporary Galleries, the museum is showcasing Kristina Rogers: Into the Labyrinthand Conversations: Romare Bearden and Richard Hunt.

This is the Mint’s first exhibition showcasing the work of Rogers (1945-2011), who was born in Germany and moved to Charlotte when she was nine years old. After studying in London and traveling widely, she settled with her husband in Waxhaw, N.C. and got involved with The Light Factory. She is known for multi-layered photographs created by overlapping negatives, to which she frequently added objects, historical photographs, and other artifacts. Shortly before her death, she donated nearly 100 of her prints to the Mint’s permanent collection, and this exhibition brings together 25 of her most provocative works.

Conversations:Romare Bearden and Richard Hunt is the latest exhibition in the Mint’s permanent Romare Bearden Gallery. It explores parallels between the two contemporaries – Bearden, who was born in Charlotte in 1911 and became the world’s most famous collagist before his death in 1988; and Hunt, widely regarded as one of the greatest living American sculptors. The Mint holds the largest repository of Bearden’s art of any public art museum, and has returned many of his signature works to public view, including Of the Blues: Carolina Shout, 1974, and Evening of the Gray Cat, 1982, which inspired the design of the museum’s Lewis Family Gallery. Hunt has been commissioned to create a monumental public sculpture in Bearden’s honor for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Romare Bearden Park, just one block north of Mint Museum Uptown. The sculpture is scheduled for unveiling sometime in 2015.

Above image: Sean Busher, Photo by Kelly Busher

Sam Francis painting is one of the most significant acquisitions donated to the museum

With a generous gift from Bank of America, The Mint Museum is launching a new Collections Initiative to strengthen the breadth and scope of art that the museum makes available to the global community.

The Mint Museum announced today that the bank is gifting to the museum a seminal painting by California artist Sam Francis, Untitled (Seafirst) 1979, from the Bank of America Collection. The painting is one of the largest by size – at approximately 19 feet tall by 38 feet wide – and one of the most significant works to enter the museum’s collection.

“The Mint is deeply grateful to Bank of America not only for this specific painting, which is an incredible gift on its own, but also for the opportunity to highlight to the community our new initiative to target and acquire works of art that will continue to elevate the Mint’s stature in the national and international arena,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “This historic occasion serves as the catalyst to spur dynamic growth of the Mint’s exceptional collection of international art and design.”

The painting has been hanging in the Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium of Mint Museum Uptown on long-term loan since the building first opened to the public in October 2010, and is one of the first works of art viewed by visitors entering the museum.

“We’re honored to partner with The Mint Museum to launch their new collection drive by donating the Sam Francis painting from the Bank of America Collection, as it adds another world-renowned piece of art to a permanent collection here in Charlotte,” said Charles Bowman, North Carolina and Charlotte president, Bank of America. “The arts play a vital role in Charlotte’s cultural identity and economy and we’re hopeful that our gift encourages other businesses and individuals to donate to the museum’s collection.”

This is not the first time that the bank has donated art to the Mint Museum. In 1978 the bank donated Il Grande Disco by Arnaldo Pomodoro, which remains on view at the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets in uptown Charlotte as part of the Mint’s public art program, and in 2002 it donated six paintings by renowned Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden.

The Mint’s Collections Initiative seeks to empower the museum’s invested donors, affiliate groups, committees, boards, trustees, and new patrons to give and seek out major examples of art, craft, and design for the museum’s collection. The initiative will remain a key institutional focus through fall 2016, culminating in the publication of  a major publication on the museum’s exceptional permanent collection celebrating the landmark 80th anniversary of North Carolina’s first art museum. The Mint will celebrate new acquisitions with a local, national, and international public relations and marketing campaign.

The Sam Francis gift sets an appropriate stage for the types of works of art that the museum is targeting for future acquisitions. “Sam Francis’s monumental painting is a tremendously important addition to the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art; one that animates the atrium in an utterly dynamic fashion,” said Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s Senior Curator of American, Modern, and Contemporary Art. “Untitled (Seafirst) 1979 demonstrates the artist’s commitment to new forms of abstraction and allows the museum to share with its visitors the impact of two key artistic movements of the 20th century – Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism – something that was not previously possible.”

California-born abstract expressionist Sam Francis (1923–1994) was one of the 20th century’s leading interpreters of light and color. Francis maintained studios in Bern, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, making him the first post-World War II American painter whose reach was truly international. Throughout a long and prolific career, Francis created thousands of paintings as well as works on paper, prints, and monotypes. His work holds references to New York abstract expressionism, color field painting, Chinese and Japanese art, French impressionism, and his own Bay Area roots.

As Mint curators and other staff have been developing the initiative in recent months, one local foundation has responded by providing another generous major acquisition to the museum, which will be announced soon.

“This initiative will serve to build the cultural assets of this community, better enabling us to drive and support education, audience engagement, tourism, and economic development for the region,” Jameson said. “We welcome the entire community to join us in enhancing our collections and preserving them for generations to come.”

Members of the media are invited to the atrium of Mint Museum Uptown, 500 South Tryon Street, today between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. to interview Jameson, Bowman, and other officials from the museum and Bank of America, as well as to photograph the Francis painting. High-resolution images and video of the painting are available upon request. RSVP to

Above image credit: Sam Francis (American, 1923-1994). Untitled (Seafirst) 1979. Acrylic on canvas. Generously donated by Bank of America Corporation. Photo courtesy of The Mint Museum. © 2013 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), NY.


About Bank of America

Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

Robert and Cortney Novogratz are the featured speakers in the Mint’s upcoming Contemporary Architecture + Design (CAD) series

Former Charlotteans Robert and Cortney Novogratz plan to visit Mint Museum Uptown in November for the latest installment of the Mint’s ongoing Contemporary Architecture + Design (CAD) series, which explores innovative perspectives and insightful stories on architecture + design, today and beyond. The husband-and-wife design team and authors, whose TV shows have included Bravo’s “9 by Design” and HGTV’s “Home by Novogratz,” juggle seven children and dozens of clients.

The public program is at 7 p.m. on November 15 and costs $5 for Mint members, $10 for non-members, and is free for students with valid ID. A light reception and book signing will follow their hour-long presentation. Copies of their newest book entitled “Home by Novogratz” (Artisan Books, $35, published October 9) will be available for purchase that evening. More information is available at

“The Mint Museum could not be more honored to welcome Robert and Cortney back to Charlotte,” said Hillary Cooper, Director of Communications and Media Relations for the Mint, “Their funky, downtown-chic aesthetic, trademark brand of cool, and incomparable style is sure to enchant and inspire our entire community.”

Robert and Cortney Novogratz specialize in a seemingly effortless melding of vintage finds and modern touches known as “the Novogratz look.” In their new book, they break down their design process from start to finish, making it easy for anyone to breathe new life into a variety of spaces. The book provides an inside look at 20 of the design pair’s projects—including the homes of Ree Drummond (the “Pioneer Woman”), skateboarder Tony Hawk, and musician Suzanne Vega—complete with tips, tricks, and takeaway ideas and detailed budget breakdowns. From reviving a Brooklyn townhouse to creating a last-minute nursery, from building a family space in a suburban basement to overhauling a beachside surf shack, each completed job is presented step-by-step.

Parents of seven children (theirs has been called “the coolest family in the world” by The Times of London), Robert and Cortney have extensive, firsthand experience in creating solutions for active families, big and small. Whether it’s making space for triplets in a shared Manhattan bedroom or building the ultimate tree house for their own family, no challenge is too intimidating or idea too grand.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Robert and Cortney Novogratz and their seven children are known to millions worldwide through their unique design aesthetic and TV programs. Raised in Virginia and Georgia respectively, Robert and Cortney now make their home in New York City. Their children are Wolfgang (age 15), Bellamy and Tallulah (14), Breaker (11), Five and Holleder (7), and Major (3). Follow the family’s adventures at and HGTV’s Home by Novogratz airs Saturdays at 7 p.m.


By Robert and Cortney Novogratz with Elizabeth Novogratz

Foreword by Julia Roberts

Published by Artisan Books on October 9, 2012

Hardcover / $35.00 320 pages; More than 500 color photographs

ISBN: 978-1-57965-499-3

“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

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

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.

Exhibition examining trends in woodworking will greet visitors to the Democratic National Convention at Mint Museum Uptown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 28, 2012) – Featuring more than 60 installations, sculptures, furniture, and objects, Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design explores the most cutting-edge conceptual and technical trends in woodworking today. Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and debuting September 1, 2012, at Mint Museum Uptown and running through January 27, 2013, the exhibition emphasizes the ways artists, designers, and craftspeople have incorporated modernist approaches and strategies into woodworking—deconstructing vessel shapes, playing on the relationship between function and form, and utilizing woodturning and furniture techniques in the creation of sculpture. The works, all created since 2000, challenge traditional applications of wood within the design and craft worlds, and exemplify the wide-ranging, frequently unexpected approaches to the medium by contemporary artists and designers. The exhibition will subsequently be on view at the Museum of Arts and Design from March through July, 2013.

“It is very important for the museum to present world-class special exhibitions to complement our internationally-regarded permanent collection during the Democratic National Convention,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design is a fascinating look at the way artists and designers use traditional woodworking techniques to create startlingly fresh work.  Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, in consultation with the Mint, we are honored to premiere the exhibition in Charlotte.  On behalf of the Mint, I express my gratitude to Moore & Van Allen PLLC and the Founders’ Circle for their generous support of Against the Grain.”

The exhibition features 57 artists and designers from around the world, including influential sculptors Ursula von Rydingsvard, Courtney Smith, and Martin Puryear, who will display one of his furniture pieces for the first time; installation artists Gary Carsley and Alison Elizabeth Taylor; designers Maarten Baas, Sebastian Errazuriz, and Pablo Reinoso; and studio wood artists Wendell Castle, Andrew Early, and Hunt Clark, among others.

“Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design aligns beautifully with the Mint’s commitment to innovative 21st-century creative expression from a variety of cultural perspectives.  Moreover, the museum’s collection is very strong in both turned wood and studio furniture, most notably, the Jane and Arthur Mason Collection, as well as recent major acquisitions; Joseph Walsh’s Enignum from the Mint’s Project Ten Ten Ten series, and Silas Kopf’s Who’s Chicken, Now? will both be on view during the exhibition,” said Annie Carlano, the Mint’s Director of Craft + Design. “Beyond museum walls, Against the Grain has a particular connection to our community and region.  The American furniture industry is centered here, and until just a few months ago, the Furniture Society was based in Asheville. Designers and makers live amongst us.”

“Against the Grain is a complete immersion into the seemingly limitless world of contemporary woodworking, an imaginative experience where function is subsumed by fantastical forms and textures,” said Holly Hotchner, Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum of Arts and Design. “The creators featured in the exhibition exemplify the innovative practice that MAD is dedicated to supporting and bringing to the fore. Their work defies clear categorization and draws together traditionally disparate themes, ideas, and techniques into stunning and surprising works of art.”

Organized by MAD Curator Lowery Stokes Sims, Against the Grain is part of MAD’s ongoing “Materials & Process” series, dedicated to exploring contemporary innovations in traditional techniques and materials, and highlights the tremendous creative energy and fresh thinking that creators are bringing to wood today. “Wood is a ubiquitous material and a medium of basic function as well as tremendous versatility. In the last several decades, artists have truly begun to test its creative boundaries, expressing and expanding wood’s aesthetic and conceptual possibilities,” said Sims. “The artists featured in Against the Grain represent the forward-thinking approach that has spurred the medium’s renaissance.”

The featured works fall into seven thematic designations that encapsulate the breadth of creative production in wood. Many of the artists and designers are inspired by wood’s most natural state as trees, utilizing branches, logs, and planks and creating works that draw upon the wood’s grains, textures, and patterns. Others fuse a variety of wood elements together to create distinctly new visual forms, producing a more powerful experience than the individual parts might allow. Digital techniques have also transformed woodworking, allowing creators to manipulate materials and produce illusions that were previously impossible. The use of wood as a material to convey political and social content as well as humor and visual puns has also grown and been refined as artists experiment with the medium. Additionally, environmental issues will be woven throughout the exhibition as increased ecological consciousness is implicit in the work of all contemporary woodworkers.

Highlights from the exhibition include the following works:

• Mark Moskovitz’s fully-functional chest of drawers mimicking wood stockpiled for the winter exemplifies the type of camouflage and secret compartments that have long been an intriguing feature of furniture. His Facecord Chest, 2011, was inspired by the haphazard geometry of cordwood and the accidental poetry in its stacking.

• In Oddychająca, 2011, Ursula von Rydingsvard manipulates a field of flat 2-by-4 beams into an organic form that gently curves out into space.

• Designers Ian Spencer and Cairn Young are presenting their Roccapina V chair, 2012, a product of the Yard Sale Project, which produces furniture that combines computer-aided design and traditional construction techniques. The result is a richly patterned surface resembling a volumetric quilt.

• Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s installations of illusionistic marquetry, which recreate architectural elements of abandoned houses—including linoleum floors or painted and papered walls whose many layers have been worn away after years of water damage.

• Maarten Baas’ “smoked” version of a Marc Newson chair, which has been torched and rendered nonfunctional and yet maintains lyricism and elegance in its new sculptural form.

• A chest of drawers by artist Courtney Smith, whose functionality has been subverted by the insertion of arbitrary rectangles and boxes of plywood. The resulting sculpture challenges ideas of structural integrity and authorship as Smith intrudes on existing design elements.

• Ai Weiwei’s 2008 evocation of a cluster of grapes in his eccentric assembling of ten simple Qing Dynasty stools, rendering the group useless.

• Gary Carsley’s cabinet installation is part of an ongoing project of photographing parks and landscapes all over the world, printing them on vinyl, and then applying them to walls and IKEA furniture. He plays with our sense of space as the print blends the wall and furniture together into one landscape environment.

• Cameroon-born artist Barthélémy Toguo’s large-scale stamp, hewed out of a block of wood and engraved with “Who is the true terrorist?,” taps into the tradition of the woodblock-printed image and evokes the political paranoia infecting recent international relations.

• Chilean designer Sebastian Errazuriz, whose Porcupine Cabinet, 2011, is a candidate in the Mint’s “Vote for Art” project. It is one of six specially-chosen works by some of the world’s top artists and designers that will be on display throughout Mint Museum Uptown. Museum visitors will cast ballots for their three favorite works. Visitors to the museum during the Democratic National Convention will be offered ballots from September 1-7; voting opens to the general public October 1 through November 9.

All media are invited to preview the exhibition at Mint Museum Uptown from 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursday August 30 (curator’s tour and refreshments provided) or during a media drop-in from 3:30 – 5 p.m. on Friday August 31. In addition, admission is FREE to all members of the media throughout public operating hours during the Democratic National Convention (reservation required). See more information about operating hours at; email to RSVP.


Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design is organized the Museum of Arts and Design and curated by Lowery Stokes Sims, Charles Bronfman International Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, assisted by Elizabeth Edwards Kirrane, Assistant Curator at MAD and project manager for the exhibition. The exhibition has been curated at The Mint Museum by Annie Carlano, Director of Craft + Design. Against the Grain is made possible at The Mint Museum through generous support from Founders’ Circle Ltd. and Moore & Van Allen PLLC.

The exhibition tour includes The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina (September 1, 2012 – January 27, 2013), Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York (March – July, 2013), and other locations to be announced.

The catalogue, published by Monacelli Press, includes essays by Curator Lowery Stokes Sims, who writes on the conceptual framework of the exhibition; Assistant Curator Elizabeth Edwards Kirrane, who chronicles how history, environmental issues, and politics have predicated the use of various woods; and noted writer on art and craft Suzanne Ramljak, who will examine the enduring preoccupation with wood in human cultures. It is available in the Mint Museum Shops for $45.


The Museum of Arts and Design explores the blur zone between art, design, and craft today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the artisanal to digital. The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum’s mission is education. The Museum’s dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft, and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.

For more information, please contact:

Sophie Henderson, Museum of Arts and Design, 212.299.7762,,  or
Alina Sumajin, Resnicow Schroeder Associates, 212.671.5155,

Exhibition is part of The Mint Museum’s VantagePoint series

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Vik Muniz, a Brazilian contemporary artist who is known for transforming garbage  into re-creations of world-famous works of art, is the subject of a new exhibition opening August 25 at Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, and running through February 24, 2013 (UPDATE: The exhibition has been extended to run through April 28, 2013).

Muniz’s re-creations 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.

“Muniz mines the transformative power of art and representation. Muniz’s pictures enlighten us to better see the consumerist, transitory culture in which we reside and to which we contribute, by making beautiful imagery from the detritus of contemporary life,” said Carla Hanzal, the Mint’s curator of modern and contemporary art. “Muniz makes visible the refuse of consumption — the discarded, ugly, forgotten, and suppressed. The waste is transformed, through ordering and arranging, into venerated images, resulting in something entirely new and valuable.”

Muniz, born into poverty in São Paulo in 1961, has arguably become the most famous contemporary artist from his native country. 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 United States, Muniz established a studio in Brooklyn.

“The beautiful thing about garbage is that it’s negative; it’s something that you don’t use anymore; it’s what you don’t want to see,” Muniz has said. “So if you are a visual artist, it becomes a very interesting material to work with because it’s the most nonvisual of materials. You are working with something that you usually try to hide.”

The exhibition consists of seven large-scale photographs, accompanied by comparative images of the historical works upon which they are based. It includes The Birth of Venus, after Botticelli (Pictures of Junk), 2008, which is a candidate in the Mint’s “Vote for Art” project. It is one of six works by some of the world’s top artists and designers that will be on display throughout the museum. Museum visitors will cast ballots for their three favorite works from the field of candidates, and the museum will acquire the three winning works and add them to its permanent collection. Visitors to the museum during the Democratic National Convention will be offered ballots, from September 1-7; voting opens to the general public October 1 through November 9.

In another tie-in to the Democratic National Convention, the exhibition includes a work that was a gift to President Obama. Marat (Sebastião), Pictures of Garbage, 2008, was generously loaned to the exhibition by the State Department Collection of the United States Government. It is modeled after the well-known painting by Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat, and named after Sebastião (Tião) Carlos Dos Santos, a man who made his living from the age of 11 by working as a “picker,” recovering recyclables at the world’s largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho, outside of Rio de Janeiro.

On September 16, visitors of all ages will be invited to experiment with Muniz’s techniques in a special Sunday Fun Day, “Recycled Masterpieces: The Art of Vik Muniz,” from 1-4 p.m. at Mint Museum Uptown. Admission is free for children and Mint members and half-price for adults ($5). The run of the exhibition will include two more special events: Muniz himself is scheduled to visit the museum on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE artist’s lecture; and the award-winning 2010 documentary film “Waste Land,” depicting Muniz’s work, is scheduled for a FREE screening at Mint Museum Uptown on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 7 p.m.

Collectively, Muniz’s photographs bring to mind ideas of ecology, impermanence, and mortality. Muniz’s photographs implicate the viewer in a consumerist, transitory culture. His photographs fuse two important strands of postmodern photography — staging and appropriation. Staging is the creation of an image through choreographing all visual components of the photograph; appropriation 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 and is scheduled to travel to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee to be on display from June 14-September 22, 2013. It is the tenth installment of VantagePoint, the Mint’s contemporary art series that emphasizes new developments in recent art practice. VantagePoint X / Vik Muniz: Garbage Matters exhibition and accompanying brochure are generously sponsored by the Goodrich Foundation.

The Mint Museum announces innovative project celebrating the democratic process, to coincide with the Democratic National Convention

The Mint Museum is inviting the public, and the tens of thousands of visitors preparing to travel to the city for the Democratic National Convention, to participate in a one-of-a-kind election taking place within the walls of Mint Museum Uptown.

Vote for Art” is a project aimed at educating the public on both the electoral process and the process of building a world-class collection for Charlotte and the region. The Mint will put six specially-chosen works of art on view in the museum and allow the public to cast votes on their three favorites. The museum will acquire the winner or winners and add them to its permanent collection.

“Vote For Art is an exciting and dynamic way for the museum to engage the public with the work of some of the best contemporary artists of our time, while leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “We welcome the community, nation, and world to join us in this innovative project.”

Voting opens on September 1 to coincide with the beginning of the Democratic National Convention (and with the opening of the Mint’s blockbuster new exhibition, Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design). Mint Museum Uptown, which is normally closed to the public on Mondays, will be open FREE all day on September 3, Labor Day, to coincide with CarolinaFest, a day-long party for the Democratic National Convention visitors to be held along Tryon Street. All visitors to the museum through September 7 will be offered ballots and the opportunity to cast votes. Voting then closes after the DNC and reopens October 1, running through November 9. Election Day, November 6, will be a free admission day from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. so any interested voters can come to the museum to vote for art after they travel to the polls to vote for their candidates (the museum is always open for free from 5-9 p.m. each Tuesday). And unlike the Board of Elections, the Mint does not require voters to be 18 – children will be offered their own opportunities to cast ballots.

A committee consisting of curators and representatives of three of the museum’s affiliate groups nominated the six works of art from an original field of 12 being offered by top galleries and artists from around the world. All six works are by contemporary artists from as far away as Denmark and Chile and as close as North Carolina, and three of the works represent the best current offerings from the field of craft and design, a particular focus for the Mint. “The strength and reputation of our curatorial team is the reason we received so many significant selections,” said Annie Carlano, director of craft + design for the Mint. Curators Carla Hanzal and Brad Thomas, who oversee the museum’s modern and contemporary collections, joined Carlano in the nomination process.

The Founders’ Circle, Mint Museum Auxiliary, and Young Affiliates of the Mint also participated in the selection, and will collaborate on the project’s culminating event, the Ballot Ball, on November 9. At that gala, to be held at Mint Museum Uptown, the winners will be unveiled. Ticket registration for the Ballot Ball will begin September 1.

During the project, voters must be inside the museum to cast a vote; no online voting will be allowed, although an overview of the project is available on and visitors may use the website’s +INSPIRING button to show support for their favorites. “Would you marry someone just by seeing their picture?” asked Carlano. “Pictures can’t convey what the work really is.”

Only one ballot is permitted per visit, but patrons can make multiple visits throughout the run of the project if they wish to cast multiple votes for their favorite candidates. For non-members of the museum, admission must be paid for each visit unless it is during the museum’s scheduled free hours.


(Follow links to see images, or click here for the Mint’s Vote for Art page:

Vik Muniz. Brazilian, 1961-
The Birth of Venus, after Botticelli (Pictures of Junk), 2008
Digital chromogenic print
3 parts: 92 x 153 ¼ inches overall
On loan from Sikkema Jenkins Gallery

Art © Vik Muniz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY


Vik Muniz, born in Sao Paulo in 1961, has arguably become the most famous contemporary Brazilian artist. Muniz’s recreations of famous paintings are notable for their uncanny attention to detail and the non-traditional nature of the media he chooses. For the Pictures of Junk series, Muniz painstakingly gathers discarded objects such 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. The Birth of Venus, after Botticelli (Pictures of Junk), 2008, will be included in The Mint Museum’s exhibition, VantagePoint X/Vik Muniz: Garbage Matters, which will be on view August 25, 2012 through February 24, 2013 at Mint Museum Uptown. “This monumental triptych photograph, exemplary of Muniz’s style and methodology, would be a welcome addition to the Modern and Contemporary Art Collection, and its burgeoning photography collection,” said Carla Hanzal, curator for the Muniz exhibition.


Beverly McIver.  American, 1962-
Dora’s Dance, 2002
Oil on canvas
152 ½ x 122 inches
On loan from Craven Allen Art Gallery, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Attaining national recognition for her autobiographical paintings, Beverly McIver consistently examines racial, gender, and social identities through the lens of her own experiences as an African-American female artist.  A native of North Carolina who currently lives in Durham, McIver 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.  Her solo exhibition, Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver, is on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art and will travel to The Mint Museum, where it will be presented October 20, 2012 – January 6, 2013. Among the portraits included in this exhibition is McIver’s masterful painting, Dora’s Dance, 2002.  “The addition of Dora’s Dance to the Mint’s Modern and Contemporary Collection would enable the Museum to increase its holdings of contemporary portraiture, as well as bolster its representation of nationally-recognized artists residing  within our state,” said Hanzal.

Mattia Biagi. Italian, 1974-
Before Midnight, 2012
Mixed media, tar
67 x 93 x 49 inches
On loan from Anna Kustera Gallery, New York City

Mattia Biagi attended the I.R.F.A., an Italian art and design school, and the illustrious Brera Academy of Art in Milan. He immigrated to Los Angeles in 2001 and became captivated by the La Brea Tar Pits and the idea of a primordial site in the midst of a bustling city. Since then, his tar-covered works transform discarded, everyday objects into interpretations of lost innocence. Dipped in the thick texture-rich substance, the underlying forms are fossilized in time and transport the viewer immediately back to childhood memories of fairytales. In the tar-and-fiberglass Before Midnight, the viewer re-lives the scene when the pumpkin has been turned into a carriage. One recalls the warning to be home before midnight, at which time the magical spell will be broken. The work was featured in the Mint’s exhibition Fairytales, Fantasy, & Fear, on view at Mint Museum Uptown from March 3 through July 8.  “Before Midnight, a tour de force of Biagi’s use of tar, would enable The Mint Museum to increase its holdings of works by internationally-acclaimed contemporary artists,” said Thomas.

Sebastian Errazuriz. Chilean, 1977-
Porcupine Cabinet, 2011
Lacquered wood, steel, and glass; 5/6
20 x 26 ¾ x 63 inches
On loan from Cristina Grajales Gallery, New York

Sebastian Errazuriz was born in Santiago de Chile; raised between that city and London; and completed his artistic studies in art, film, and design in Washington, Edinburgh, and Milan, ultimately earning an MFA from New York University. Featured in over 40 exhibitions in Asia, Europe, and the United States, Errazuriz’s objects demonstrate his belief that design can be a powerful way to impact our lives, through the dynamic interaction that his work demands. As Porcupine Cabinet opens before the viewer’s eye, it transforms from an elegant minimalist sculpture to an energetic anthropomorphic character. One knows that this is a cabinet — but much more, too. It is included in the upcoming exhibition Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design, on view September 1, 2012 – January 27, 2013 at Mint Museum Uptown. With the acquisition of Porcupine Cabinet, the Mint would be the first American art museum to have a work by Sebastian Errazuriz in its collection. “Errazuriz is a cutting-edge, 21st-century designer whose innovative and inspired works align with the Mint’s goal of building the finest collection of contemporary international design in the world,” said Carlano.

Mathias Bengtsson. Danish, 1971-
Slice Chair Paper, 2010
Paper, 1/2
On loan from Industry Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Born in Copenhagen in 1971, Mathias Bengtsson earned a BA in furniture design from the Danish College of Design and an MA in furniture and industrial design from the Royal College of Art, London. He established his own studio in 2002, after collaborating with other designers and gaining international acclaim for his Slice chairs in 1998. Bengtsson’s Slice Chair Paper blurs the boundaries between design and sculpture by combining inspiration from futuristic technology and nature. Made entirely from paper glued together in layers, using no screws or fasteners, the paper chair resembles a topographic map or a cliff face eroded by wind and water. Because of the labor-intensive process, the designer has decided not to make any more paper chairs. “If acquired, this would be the only paper chair by Bengtsson in a museum collection anywhere in the world,” said Carlano.


Nacho Carbonell. Spanish. 1980-
Wood Branches, Diversity n. 17 (prototype), 2010
Metal armature, wood, branches, papier-mâché
On loan from Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Milan, Italy.

Extreme experimentation with materials and ideas is central to the work of Nacho Carbonell (known internationally as simply Nacho). The distinct gravel-, thorn-, or branch-covered surfaces of the combined desk forms in the Diversity series suggest a demographically diverse neighborhood. The chairs are handmade by a small team of assistants using laborious processes in Nacho’s studio in Eindhoven, The Netherlands; he will assemble Diversity n.17 in The Mint Museum’s atrium beginning July 25. Nacho graduated from the Spanish University of Cardenal Herrera-CEU and the prestigious Design Academy, Eindhoven. He was nominated Designer of the Year in 2009 by the Design Museum, London, and designated as Designer of the Future by the Design Miami / Basel committee later that same year. “With a reputation as an innovator in his use of various media, techniques, and as a provocateur par excellence, Nacho is one of the hottest young designers of the moment,” said Carlano.

The Mint Museum has hired Brad Thomas as its new curator of contemporary art effective January 23, Mint President & CEO Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson has announced.

 The Mint Museum has hired Brad Thomas as its new curator of contemporary art effective January 23, Mint President & CEO Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson has announced.

Thomas has served as the director and curator of the Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College since 1999. The newly-created Mint position is a reflection of the opportunities brought by the opening of the Mint Museum Uptown building in fall 2010. “This is a tremendous step in strengthening the museum’s commitment to modern and contemporary art, which will be a strategic priority over the next five years and beyond,” Jameson said. “Brad brings great strengths to the museum, adding depth and further expertise.”

For Thomas, the move is a natural step after more than 20 years in the local arts community. “As an undergraduate art student at UNC Charlotte in the early 90s, I was acutely aware of the sometimes polarizing nature of the arts in this community,” Thomas said. “I am excited to join The Mint Museum and its talented team of curators at this critical juncture when the arts are now a unifying source of cultural pride and identity.”

During Thomas’ tenure at Davidson, he organized dozens of exhibitions and collaborative projects, including the international artists-in-residency project Force of Nature, which centered on site-specific installations by ten Japanese artists at seven American institutions. Thomas has also led initiatives to integrate visual art into the learning experience, most notably through the establishment of Davidson’s Campus Sculpture Program, which features major outdoor installations by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Antony Gormley, Joel Shapiro, and William Tucker. He also produced publications on Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ewan Gibbs, Herb Jackson, Robert Lazzarini, Reverend McKendree Robbins Long, and Joel Shapiro. His partnership with the College Writing Program in 2012 led to the release of Davidson Collects: 100 Writers Respond to Art, the first interdisciplinary book on Davidson College’s permanent art collection, which features 100 essays on selected works by undergraduate students from a wide variety of majors.

Thomas will work closely with Carla Hanzal, curator of modern and contemporary art, and the rest of the Mint’s curatorial staff.

The Mint Museum will once again break new ground by bringing together three exhibitions comprising the largest and most significant examination of Surrealism and Surrealist-inspired art ever presented in the Southeast.

– The Mint Museum will once again break new ground by bringing together three exhibitions comprising the largest and most significant examination of Surrealism and Surrealist-inspired art ever presented in the Southeast. Surrealism and Beyond opens to the public at Mint Museum Uptown on February 11 and runs through May 13.

Organized by The Mint Museum and overseen by Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s curator of American art, the project consists of three fascinating shows examining the work of four artists: Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy; Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s; and Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary.

“I am certain that the public will enjoy this rare opportunity to see more than 100 works of art by these four important painters. There is a remarkable synergy between these exhibitions, each of which reveals a different aspect of Surrealism and its impact on 20th century art,” said Stuhlman.

The project illustrates the Mint’s commitment to being a leader in scholarship and education on all forms of art and design. “Surrealism and Beyond is an undertaking many years in the making for the Mint and for its curator, Jonathan Stuhlman,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of The Mint Museum. “It is an exciting opportunity to introduce our audience to these important Surrealist artists and their works, some of which have never been exhibited before.”

Details on each exhibition:

Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy

Double Solitaire 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.

By intermingling Sage and Tanguy’s paintings, this exhibition of approximately 50 works of art tells the fascinating story of the couple’s complex personal and artistic relationship and, more importantly, elucidates the commonalities and ties between each artists’ work, which historically has been kept separate. Visitors will see firsthand the impact each artist had upon the other as they explored and developed their own unique visual languages. While many of the paintings in the exhibition are drawn from prominent public collections, a number of privately-held works will also be included—some of which have never before been exhibited, and some of which the artists dedicated to each other.

Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy is organized by The Mint Museum and Katonah Museum of Art, and has also been shown at the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA (where it is running through January 22 before traveling to the Mint). It 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. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s

This captivating exhibition focuses on the remarkable paintings and drawings created by the American artist Charles Seliger during the first decade of his career. Born in 1926, Seliger quickly acquired a strong working knowledge of early 20th century modernism. But it was the fantastic imagery, inventive processes, and creative freedom of Surrealism that truly captured his attention and inspired him to develop his own mature aesthetic between 1942 and 1950. Although his work was rooted in the same basic principles and ideas as that of the Abstract Expressionists, many of whom he exhibited alongside in the 1940s, Seliger found a distinctly personal voice and artistic vocabulary. Because of this, he was given his first solo exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s “Art of this Century” gallery in 1945, when he was just 19. By the end of the decade, Seliger had narrowed his focus and further honed his style, resulting in an approach that defined his work until his death in 2009.

Seeing the World Within is the first exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking paintings Seliger created during the first decade of his career, and the first museum-organized exhibition of Seliger’s work in 30 years. It brings together approximately 35 of his best works from the 1940s, drawn from public and private collections as well as his estate.

Following its debut at the Mint, Seeing the World Within will travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (June 9-September 16, 2012), and the Munson-Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica, New York (October 20-January 20, 2013). (Please note that this part of Surrealism and Beyond closes at the Mint two weeks prior to the other exhibitions, on April 29, to facilitate its travel to Italy). This exhibition is made possible through support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Dedalus Foundation, Inc., and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary

This 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. Many of the objects in the exhibition were either created specifically for Onslow Ford’s sister, Elisabeth, or were given to her for such special occasions as her birthdays. Because of the closeness and longevity of their relationship, the exhibition will offer visitors a look at the full range of Onslow Ford’s career – from early, more traditional canvases from the 1920s and 1930s, to his first experiments with Surrealism in the late 1930s and 1940s, to his later work from the 1950s forward, which took a more cosmic, symbolic approach to abstraction.

It is a particularly apt companion for the Sage and Tanguy and Seliger exhibitions, as it reveals another dimension of Surrealism and its impact, and features an artist who knew and worked alongside Sage and Tanguy in the 1930s and 1940s and who wrote a book on Tanguy’s artistic process in 1980. Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary is accompanied by a selection of ephemera and works by family-member artists who were inspirational to Onslow Ford early in his career.

This exhibition is exclusive to The Mint Museum and is made possible through support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary.

Museum staffers will design and install a custom creation in a deserving local family’s home

December 2012 update: At right is an image of the completed family photo timeline featuring graphic design work by The Mint Museum and designer Elyse Frederick, to be featured on the December 17, 2012 broadcast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

The Mint Museum is assisting in the local effort to give a deserving family an “extreme home makeover” as part of ABC’s Emmy award-winning television reality show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

As the show’s producers prepared to select a winning family from the Charlotte area to receive a new home, they approached The Mint Museum in recent weeks to ask for assistance creating and installing a graphic design project involving family photos that will be a focal point of the family’s new living room. Mint Museum Graphic Designer Elyse Frederick and Design & Installation Director Kurt Warnke are leading this effort with support from additional team members. Charlotte company Kenny Color Lab ( agreed to donate the necessary materials and services to produce the museum’s design. “Kenny Color Lab is thrilled to have an opportunity to help a deserving local family and collaborate with The Mint Museum on this project,” said Kenny Flippin, the company’s vice president.

The work will be installed during the build, which is taking place in Lincolnton December 11 through December 17 and is being spearheaded by local builder Bellamy Homes.

Museum staffers were touched by the winning local family’s story after learning they have taken in dozens of local foster children over the years, and recently adopted a group of five siblings. The museum’s contribution to the home will incorporate photos of the family to honor their love and generosity. The creation of the project will be documented and displayed at the museum’s website,, after it is completed. The build is scheduled to air in December 2012 with a two-hour special broadcast on ABC.

“The show’s design producer was impressed with our institution and felt confident that we would have the in-house talent needed to design and install this project,” said Hillary Cooper, Communications and Media Relations Director for the Mint. “This is another shining example of the museum giving back to the community in innovative and meaningful ways.”

Several finalists in the greater Charlotte area were considered for the build, and all were deemed worthy causes. The winning family, the Friday family of Lincolnton, received a knock on their door on Sunday, December 11, from team leader Ty Pennington and the show’s design team. The project has recruited more than 3,000 volunteers, and will be completed in one week. All products and labor are being donated by partnering trades and suppliers.

The Mint Museum Randolph is announcing that its Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman exhibition has been extended another two months.

Due to its popularity and widespread public acclaim, The Mint Museum Randolph is announcing that its Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman exhibition has been extended another two months, keeping it on view to museum patrons until February 26, 2012.

The exhibition presents the iconic haute couture designs of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and includes works on public view for the first time. Sponsored by U.S Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, the exhibition opened May 21.

“The overwhelmingly positive public response to this exhibition has been gratifying,” said Charles L. Mo, Director of Fine Arts. “We are pleased to be able to give visitors more time to appreciate this landmark collection from a legendary designer.”

Among the major designers who shaped the landscape of women’s fashion in the 20th century, Coco Chanel (1883-1971) remains a pivotal figure. She pioneered a new look for women in the early 1900s, creating clothes that were primarily comfortable, yet lasting in both their construction and style. Replacing the restrictive corset with casual elegance, her fashion repertoire included simple suits and dresses, women’s trousers, costume jewelry, and perfume.

Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman includes works dating from the 1920s to the present, augmented by a selection of accessories, sketches, and other fashion-related materials. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Mint’s Historic Costume & Fashionable Dress collection.

Highlights include a sampling of early designs, from a suit that was produced circa 1925-1929 and is noted to be an ensemble constructed by Coco Chanel herself, to the seminal “little black dress,” which the designer popularized among women everywhere. Accessories such as handbags, eyeglasses, shoes, and perfume demonstrate the myriad of designs produced by the label within its first century of existence.

Born in France, Chanel endured a rocky childhood and first learned to sew in an orphanage during her teens. It was during a brief stint as a singer in cafés and concert halls that she adopted the name Coco. With the help of a wealthy male companion, Chanel launched her first business venture – a millinery shop – in Paris in 1910, followed by boutiques in Deauville and Biarritz. During the 1920s, she became the first designer to use knit jersey (an inexpensive material traditionally used for men’s underwear) to construct women’s clothing, creating relaxed, menswear-inspired garments that rejected the stiff, corseted look of the time. Her innovative, uncluttered designs led her to become one of the premier fashion designers in Paris.

In 1925, Chanel introduced her now legendary suit, featuring a collarless jacket and fitted skirt. She matched its success the following year with her little black dress, both of which continue to be staples in every Chanel collection. In 1926, American Vogue compared Chanel’s little black dress to the Ford automobile. The designer helped pioneer the floating evening scarf, as well as the practice of wearing faux and real jewels together. She used colorful, feminine, printed chiffons in her daywear designs, while evening ensembles incorporated tulle, lace, and decorative elements that softened the overall look of the garment.

Coco Chanel worked until her death in 1971 at the age of 88. Her fashions and accessories – including her iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume – earned her a place on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Chanel: Designs for the Modern Woman is made possible with generous support from U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Media sponsor: Our State Magazine.

Sculptor was in residence at McColl Center for Visual Art and exhibited at The Mint Museum in Charlotte

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has named Elizabeth Turk, an artist with ties to the Charlotte cultural community, as one of 23 new MacArthur Fellows for 2010. Turk, a sculptor known for transforming marble into intricate, seemingly weightless works of art, was a 2003 Artist-in-Residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art and presented her first solo museum exhibition VantagePoint III – Elizabeth Turk: The Collarsat The Mint Museum in 2004. Turk was recently in Charlotte to deliver Collar 21 to the Mint for presentation within the contemporary art galleries in the new Mint Museum Uptown, opening 1 October 2010.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of a MacArthur Fellowship than Elizabeth,” said Carla Hanzal, Curator of Contemporary Art at The Mint Museum. “Her ability to manipulate marble into such exquisite forms defies the medium’s rigid qualities and is nothing short of extraordinary. We are proud to share her impressive artwork with the public.”

“Elizabeth has a quiet, thoughtful, yet powerful sensibility,” said Suzanne Fetscher, President of McColl Center for Visual Art. “Her time with us was spent developing the concepts and execution for the “Collars.” At the time, she called our Center a “candy store” where artists can explore materials, tools and relationships with other artists and the community, which is our reason for being. It is wonderful to see our partnership with the Mint Museum reflected in this amazing recognition for Elizabeth.”

While her past artistic projects have involved works in metal, glass, and porcelain, as well as drawings, photography, and video, Turk has focused on marble in her major series of works. Inspired by the challenges the hard stone poses for an artist interested in rendering nature’s most delicate forms, she has achieved an extremely fine level of detail in an often-unforgiving substance. Employing a variety of electric grinders, files, and small dental tools with a dexterous touch, her technical virtuosity is on full display in “The Collars,” a series of sixteen painstakingly carved sculptures that explore a rich variety of organic and geometric patterns. The elaborate collars in this collection combine allusions to decorative motifs and the self-organizing systems of the natural world, drawing from lace-making and Elizabethan fashion as well as botanical, skeletal, and architectural structures. Continuing the theme of fragile, textile-like compositions with the strength and heft of stone, Turk creates a surprising sense of buoyancy and undulating movement in her recent series of marble ribbons suspended in midair. With these and other visually arresting feats of precision, Turk is pushing the physical limits of her material and reviving a classical medium for contemporary artistic exploration.

Turk will receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support from the MacArthur Foundation over the next five years. All Fellows were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.

The groundbreaking exhibition Scene in America: A Contemporary Look at the Black Male Image explores how artists address race and identity when using images of Black males in their work.

On view at the Mint Museum of Art from April 19 to November 2, 2008, the exhibition features works from the collections of The Mint Museum, the Van Every/Smith Gallery of Davidson College, and private collectors and artists.

“Scene in America undoubtedly marks an important cultural event for Charlotte and the region,” said Dr. Jae Emerling, Assistant Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  “By addressing the ways in which Black males have been represented in contemporary art, the exhibition offers viewers the opportunity to contemplate a series of complex issues ranging from the continued effects of racial stereotypes to the importance of extended families in the African American experience.”

The exhibition investigates shifts in power—from usurpation to attainment—found in contemporary portrayals of black masculinity. The South’s painful past of persecution and stereotyping is a recurring topic explored by the exhibition’s artists. Conversely, images of activism, family and community, and a positive and resilient identity hint at overcoming the societal obstacles left by the legacy of slavery.

Elizabeth Catlett invokes these positive attributes in her loving sculpture Family, while her lithograph To Marry portrays a couple sharing a kiss over the contradictory image of a lynched man, suggesting that the memory of past brutalities is present even in moments of intimacy. Similarly, Benjamin “Old Folks” Davis’ woodwork, Black Men Pledge Unity, shows that activism in great numbers can overcome many barriers.

Other works in the exhibit provide positive alternatives to past stereotypes. Chuck Close’s Lyle, a portrait of contemporary artist Lyle Ashton Harris, is created from many colors and forms, perhaps suggesting the complexity and beauty of Harris’s identity. Tommie Robinson incorporates an image of Charlotte’s Public Library into the background of his portrait titled Product, suggesting that one can achieve a positive self-identity through education, achievement and embracing an African heritage.

Many contemporary artists have found the history and persistence of racial stereotypes to be a compelling source of subject matter for their work. Robert Mapplethorpe’s Untitled #1, portrays model Ken Moody as physically beautiful: an object of desire striking a classical pose. Mapplethorpe acknowledges the stereotype of the black male as a physically powerful being, and seems to celebrate this quality rather than casting him as a figure to be feared.  Photographer Larry Fink’s Black Hand, Checkered Rump depicts a black man with a white female companion at a high society function, and asks viewers to consider his or her own views on mixed-race relationships and the cultural bias that often accompanies them.

Other prominent artists featured in Scene in America include Hale Woodruff, Romare Bearden, Camille Billops, Samella Lewis, John Hairston, Jr., Antoine “RAW” Williams, Juan Logan, Willie Little and John Biggers.

“This is not simply a show about race; rather, it is a promising example of how art instigates discussions, raises questions, and forms communities of viewers,” said Emerling. “With this exhibition, The Mint Museum has taken another important step in promoting not only contemporary art, but cultural diversity as well.”

The exhibition was curated by Kimberly Thomas under the direction of Carla Hanzal, curator of Contemporary Art. Curatorial and library staff have created a blog linked to the Museum’s Web site to encourage dialogue about this exhibition and the important themes it investigates.

Showcasing the work of six young North Carolina studio craft artists, Possibilities: Rising Stars of Contemporary Craft in North Carolinaillustrates the vitality and diversity present among a new generation of artists.

The exhibition features works by Vivian Beer (metal), Devin Burgess (glass), Cristina Cordóva (ceramics), Anne Lemanski (paper), Brent Skidmore (furniture) and Jerilyn Virden (ceramics), all of whom are creating extraordinary and distinctive work that is quickly gaining national attention.

Selected for the quality of their work, the exhibition’s artists visually and conceptually represent the dynamic future of craft in our region. “If you choose a work from a rising star, you make an investment in the future – yours and theirs,” says Rob Williams, consulting curator of Craft + Design. The works featured in Possibilities explore sculptural forms, high design, humor, politics and the confrontation of cultures.

Possibilities includes evocative ceramic works from artists Cristina Cordóva and Jerilyn Virden. Cordóva creates work that captures both personal and universal confrontations of cultures experienced by Latin American immigrants, while Virden’s sandblasted clay forms bridge the gap between the vessel and modernist sculpture.

Vivian Beer’s sculptural metal forms that function as seating complement Brent Skidmore’s functional furniture with “Stone Age” influences. Contributing paper pieces to the exhibition, Anne Lemanski’s three-dimensional constructions of animal forms feature politically charged images on hand-painted and appropriated paper fragments. Finally, Devin Burgess will present groupings of blown glass that showcase the sophistication of high design.