Volume released just in time for the Democratic National Convention is a work of art in itself

In a unique collaboration combining art and scholarship, The Mint Museum has published a new book in association with Yale University Press titled  One Work, which will be available for sale to museum visitors beginning with the Democratic National Convention activities on September 1. The volume, totaling 100 pages including photos, is devoted to the massive four-story work hanging in the atrium of Mint Museum Uptown, Mega Footprint Near the Hutch (May I Have This Dance?) by Sheila Hicks. It contains two pullout accordion folds with images of Mega Footprint on them and a hanging loop embedded into the cover, enabling readers to literally hang the book on their walls and enjoy the book itself as a work of art.

The book was designed by internationally renowned Amsterdam-based designer Irma Boom, who won the 2007 Gold Medal at the Leipzig Book Fair for “The Most Beautiful Book in the World” for designing Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor, published by Yale University Press. One Work includes a foreword by Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint; an essay by Annie Carlano, director of Craft + Design; an afterword by Rodolfo Machado of Machado and Silvetti Associates, architects of Mint Museum Uptown; and photos by James Martin, Digital Media Manager at the Mint.

“In the field of art history it is rare to find publications dedicated to one singular work of art; books about iconic contemporary works are rarer still,” said Jameson. “At a time when The Mint Museum strives to lead in collecting the most innovative art being made in the world today, and especially with the eyes of the nation and world focusing upon Charlotte and our museum during the coming week, we are thrilled to celebrate Sheila Hicks’s Mega Footprint Near the Hutch (May I Have this Dance?) as a signature work of art for this institution.”

The book was the idea of Carlano, who was also instrumental in bringing Boom on board as designer. “This ‘one work’ is central to the discourse on how 21st century art and architecture can, with their rapport, transform a space and inspire individuals,” said Carlano. “Mega Footprint captivates us because it doesn’t look like anything we’ve ever seen before.”

The Mint acquired Mega Footprint Near the Hutch in fall 2011 through a generous gift from Target Corporation. The company originally commissioned the work for its Minneapolis headquarters, where it was first named May I Have This Dance? A redesign of the headquarters prompted a search for a permanent new home, and the Mint was among many of the nation’s largest and most important museums considered for the gift. Its distinctive tubes, made of linen thread wrapped around plumbers’ pipe insulating foam, were reconfigured for the atrium space of Mint Museum Uptown. Its new title referred to Charlotte’s “mega footprint” of growth near the “hutch,” used as a synonym for animal pen, and referring to Charlotte’s proximity to still-rural countryside. The newly reimagined work was unveiled concurrently with the opening of Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, a retrospective organized by The Addison Gallery of American Art that was on view at the Mint from October 2011 through January 2012. Hicks is considered one of the world’s leading contemporary artists and designers, known for her work with thread and textiles.

One Work is on sale for $40 at both Mint Museum Shop locations and is also being distributed internationally by Yale University Press. All proceeds from sales at Museum Shops benefit The Mint Museum. For more information or media review copies, contact Leigh Dyer at leigh.dyer@mintmuseum.org.

Click here and click on the second highlight image to see more about Mega Footprint Near the Hutch.

Sheila Hicks: 50 Years bridges distinctions between artist and artisan

The Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts proudly presents  Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, an exhibition organized by The Addison Gallery of American Art, the art museum of Phillips Academy.This comprehensive exhibition, running 1 October 2011 through 29 January 2012, marks the first museum
retrospective devoted to this pioneering figure. Sheila Hicks is an artist who builds with color and thinks with line. From her earliest work of the late 1950s to the present, she has crossed the boundaries of painting, sculpture, design, drawing, and woven form, and has been a critical force in redefining the domains of contemporary art-making. While challenging the relationship of fine arts to commercial arts and studio practice to site-specific commissions, Hicks has,above all, re-imagined the profound, vital connection of artist to artisan.

Sheila Hicks: 50 Years
addresses the artist’s conceptual, procedural, and material concerns via five distinct, though intimately related, fields of inquiry: bas reliefs and sculptures; small weavings and drawings; site commissions for public spaces; production textiles; and process works made of recuperated textiles, clothing, and other found objects.

Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President and CEO of The Mint Museum, has stated, “The Mint is honored to be the third and final venue for this exhibition, which fulfills the museum’s mission of bringing the most important international contemporary art and design to Charlotte and the region. Astonishingly original, the art of Sheila Hicks deifies
categorization as it engages our intellect and our senses in its exploration of line, form, texture, and color. Choosing thread as her medium, she was a trailblazer, forging the then unknown path of ‘cross over artist,’ straddling the fields of design, craft, and contemporary art. What I find particularly relevant for the Mint, is the artist’s long standing interest in the art of the ancient Americas and other world cultures, locating in them the visual vocabulary for a tremendously
contemporary language.”

Born in Hastings, Nebraska, Hicks received her BFA and MFA degrees from Yale (’57; ’59), studying painting with master teacher and theorist Josef Albers and history of art with George Kubler, a pivotal figure in the rediscovery of Mesoamerican art. Hicks’s self-described practice of “linear thinking” and “composing texture” reflects the Bauhaus
tradition of finding the expressive voices of different materials and the dynamic interactions of color. Equally, her work reflects her studies with Kubler, in particular the juxtapositions she first saw in his class of small Pre-Incaic weavings with the colossal structures of Machu Picchu.

From her earliest experiments with woven forms, Hicks has explored processes that skew the traditional grid, incorporating traditional and new materials or integrating found objects, even deconstructing her own works and reusing the elements to create any number of others. She has explored the role of the artist’s hand and the use of technologies to produce works that range from the size of a page to that of a football field.  In addition to her studio works and commissions, Hicks is noted internationally as a teacher and mentor of several generations of artists and designers.