Feature Articles

May 2013

Mint Museum Randolph in Charlotte, NC, Offers Three New Exhibitions

Three exhibitions showcasing the impressive scope and global reach of The Mint Museum’s permanent collection are now on view at Mint Museum Randolph. The lineup includes American Glass, featuring selections from the Decorative Arts Collection spanning the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Arts of Africa, which includes significant loans from local, regional, and national collectors as well as works from the Mint’s collection of African Art that have never before been on view; and Dior, Balmain, Saint Laurent: Elegance and Ease, featuring works from legendary French designers Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, and Yves Saint Laurent, which will give fashionistas another exhibition to applaud from the Mint’s renowned Fashion Collection.

American Glass and Arts of Africa, will be ongoing exhibits, while Dior, Balmain, Saint Laurent: Elegance and Ease, will be on view through Jan. 12, 2014.

“These three exhibitions once again illustrate the strength and diversity of the Mint’s permanent collection, which includes over 34,000 objects comprising one of the largest collections of art in the Southeastern United States,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “We are thrilled to once again offer our community and visitors the opportunity to be inspired and transformed by their experiences at this museum.”

The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represented a time of extraordinary growth for the American glass industry. Such companies as Boston & Sandwich Glass Company in Sandwich, MA; Steuben Glass Works in Corning, NY; and Libbey Glass Company in Toledo, OH, began operation and soon developed notable reputations for producing fashionable wares that were coveted by many middle- and upper-class consumers.

American Glass showcases objects by these and other American glass companies, illustrating the variety of forms and styles that prevailed during this period. Glass-manufacturing techniques will be another focus of the exhibition, with representative examples of pressed, cut, blown, and molded glass. Nearly all of the works on view are from The Mint Museum’s permanent collection of glass, which is second in size only to the ceramics collection in the museum’s Decorative Arts holdings.

The African continent is remarkable in its geographic, social, political, and cultural diversity. This impressive diversity is reflected in the visual arts through a variety of media and forms including ceramics, masks, textiles, sculptures, prestige staffs, and shrines. With exceptional loans from private collectors and The Mint Museum’s own collection of African Art, the museum is pleased to announce the expansion of its presentation of Arts of Africa, thereby providing visitors a more in-depth, meaningful, and exciting overview of African art.

Dior, Balmain, Saint Laurent: Elegance and Ease explores the designs of three major Parisian designers with selections from The Mint Museum’s Fashion Collection, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. French fashion has long been and continues to form the foundation of global designs.

Christian Dior (1905-1957) established Paris as the center of the world of modern haute couture. In the late 1940s, Dior’s “New Look” fashions presented small, nipped-in waistlines above full skirts which emphasized the bust and hips in these silhouettes. He selected extravagant fabrics for his dresses and gowns, and his designs soon captured the attention of prominent clients from around the world. His innovations and designs, for decades thereafter, influenced women’s fashions and the designers who created them.

Known for the elegance and movement of his formal designs, Pierre Balmain (1914-1982) created fine, slim silhouettes for his tailored suits. Even today, Balmain’s vintage gowns are highly sought after by fashionistas across the globe.

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) is recognized as one of the greatest names in fashion history, called “the most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty years” by fashion historian Caroline Rennolds Milbank. He was among the first to present ready-to-wear designs, including his famous tuxedo suits for women that became a symbol of fashionable ease. His formal and evening fashions as well as tailored suits display his talent and ability to create impressive directions in the world of haute couture and luxury fashion.

As the oldest art museum in North Carolina, with one of the largest collections in the Southeast, The Mint Museum offers its visitors inspiring and transformative experiences through art from around the world via innovative collections, groundbreaking exhibitions, and riveting educational programs. The Mint Museum is a non-profit, visual arts institution comprised of two dynamic facilities: Mint Museum Uptown and Mint Museum Randolph.

Located in what was the original branch of the United States Mint, Mint Museum Randolph opened in 1936 in Charlotte’s Eastover neighborhood as the state’s first art museum. Today, in a beautiful park setting, intimate galleries invite visitors to engage with the art of the ancient Americas, ceramics and decorative arts, fashion, European art, and African art, among other collections. Resources include a reference library with over 18,000 volumes, a theater featuring lectures and performances, and a museum shop offering merchandise that complements both the permanent collection and special exhibitions.

Mint Museum Uptown houses the internationally renowned Craft + Design collection, as well as outstanding collections of American, contemporary, and European art. Designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston, the five-story, 145,000-square-foot facility combines inspiring architecture with cutting-edge exhibitions to provide visitors with unparalleled educational and cultural experiences. Located in the heart of Charlotte’s burgeoning center city, Mint Museum Uptown is an integral part of the Levine Center for the Arts, a cultural campus that includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture, the Knight Theater, and the Duke Energy Center. Mint Museum Uptown also features a wide range of visitor amenities, including the 240-seat James B. Duke Auditorium, the Lewis Family Gallery, art studios, a restaurant, and a museum shop.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 704/337-2000 or visit (www.mintmuseum.org).

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