“Vote for Art” election winners announced

Muniz, Biagi, and Bengtsson are the world-famous names to be added to the Mint’s permanent collection

The ballots have been counted, and the winners of The Mint Museum’s one-of-a-kind election have been announced: Vik Muniz, Mattia Biagi, and Mathias Bengtsson were the three favorites from among six candidates at The Mint Museum during its “Vote for Art” project.

The museum, in partnership with three of its affiliate groups – the Mint Museum Auxiliary, Founders’ Circle, and Young Affiliates of the Mint – placed six specially-chosen contemporary works of art on view throughout the project and invited visitors to cast ballots for up to three. A special early-voting period ran during the Democratic National Convention in September, and public voting for all museum visitors ran during October and up through the museum’s Ballot Ball gala fundraiser on Friday evening, November 9, where attendees cast the final votes. The project drew nearly 20,000 votes throughout its run. The winners are:


The Birth of Venus, after Botticelli (Pictures of Junk)


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, is included in The Mint Museum’s exhibition, VantagePoint X / Vik Muniz: Garbage Matters, which has recently received a two-month extension and will remain on view through April 28, 2013 at Mint Museum Uptown. This work was the first-place winner in “Vote for Art.” Muniz is scheduled to visit Mint Museum Uptown for a FREE public lecture on January 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Before Midnight

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 from “Cinderella” 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 in spring 2012. It was the second-place vote-getter in “Vote for Art.”

Slice Chair Paper

Mathias Bengtsson. Danish, 1971-
Slice Chair Paper, 2010
Paper, one of two
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 and will now become the only paper chair by Bengtsson in a museum collection anywhere in the world. It was the third-place “Vote for Art” candidate.

“Great museums are defined in part by the collections they hold in the public trust. The Mint’s collection must reflect the hopes and desires of the community, and it must be world-class. We are poised to be among the best art museums in the country, and we can only do this through continuing to build and strengthen our collection,” Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint, told attendees of the Ballot Ball event. Honorary co-chairs for the event were the Hon. and Mrs. Anthony Foxx and Jim and M.A. Rogers.

The Mint will purchase the three winning works through a combination of sponsorships by Neiman Marcus and US Bancorp, ticket sales from the Ballot Ball, and acquisition funds.

And the Mint’s efforts to acquire works by the world’s best-known contemporary artists have not ended – the museum is committed to continuing to raise funds from the community to potentially acquire the three remaining “Vote for Art” candidates, works by Nacho Carbonell of Spain; Sebastian Errazuriz of Chile; and Beverly McIver, a North Carolina native. Those interested in contributing to this effort can email Martha Loftin at Martha.loftin@mintmuseum.org.