The Mint Museum acquires major work of art: Sheila Hicks’ May I Have This Dance?

Through generous gift by Target Corporation

The Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts has acquired Sheila  Hicks’ monumental bas relief, May I Have This Dance?, through a generous gift by Target Corporation. Originally  commissioned by Target for their lobby headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2003, May I Have This Dance? has  been recently reimagined, and reconfigured, for exhibitions in Paris and Philadelphia, each metamorphosis informed by
the particular architectural setting.

With a redesign of Target Corporation headquarters, a search for a new, permanent home for the work began in earnest in 2010. Target consulted Sheila Hicks regarding where May I Have This Dance? might permanently reside. Some of the largest and most important art museums in the country were considered for this major gift.

With the new progressive initiative of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, a newly opened facility, new leadership, and a renewed focus on world-class acquisitions, exhibitions, and educational programs, The Mint Museum presented a unique
and compelling case. The Mint committed to install the work for an extended period of time in the Robert Haywood  Morrison Atrium, the largest public space and principal gathering area of the new museum uptown. In this prime location, Hicks’ powerful sculpture will command tremendous visual impact and set the tone for visitors’ experiences as they enter the museum. Similar to the original architectural setting for May I Have This Dance? at Target, The Mint’smMorrison Atrium provides a distinct opportunity to honor the integrity of the artist’s original intent and design.

“The Mint Museum is deeply grateful for this exceptional gift from Target Corporation,” said Dr, Kathleen V. Jameson, President and CEO. “Our permanent collection offers a strong complement to the themes and craftsmanship present in May I Have This Dance? The Mint Museum and Target Corporation also share the same core values of integrity in all we do, a commitment to excellence and making art and arts education accessible to diverse audiences throughout our
respective communities. We feel extremely proud and privileged to share this work with our city, region, and our national and international visitors.”

Annie Carlano, Director of Craft + Design, states, “While Sheila is a resident of Paris, she is a citizen of the world. The nomadic nature of May I Have This Dance? parallels the extensive global travels that have influenced and inspired Sheila’s work. Sheila finds innovation in tradition and contemporary expression in the hand-made. May I Have This
is the apotheosis of Hicks’ monumental bas relief creations. Transcendental in both concept and form, this ebullient installation was inspired by the natural light soaked space of the Mint’s atrium, the integration of the outside sky scape and the interior, the energetic vertical sweep to the high ceilings, and the modernity of the building materials and furniture. In fact, Sheila commented that standing in the atrium, reminded her of being inside Le Corbusier’s chapel
(Notre Dame du Haut) in Ronchamp, France.  It is not surprising to me that her initial ruminations about the reconfiguration, of May I Have This Dance?, for the west wall were about shapes and patterns from the natural world, for example streaking lightning bolts and a circling hurricane.”

The official unveiling of May I Have This Dance? will occur in unison with the preview of 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, at The Mint Museum Uptown, marks the first 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.

The Sheila Hicks: FiftyYears exhibition and the long-term installation of May I Have This Dance? will serve as important highlights of The Mint Museum’s 75th anniversary celebration beginning this October