Friday, June 22, 2012

Opening June 30: Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, and Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection

Two exhibitions illustrating diverse and thought-provoking views of
what it means to be an American will open June 30 at Mint Museum
Uptown. The community is invited to engage with the museum during
special events associated with each exhibition.

The exhibitions mark the beginning of a spectacular lineup The Mint
Museum will have on display when tens of thousands of visitors arrive
in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention in early
September. More news of other exhibitions and special projects will be
arriving in the coming weeks.

"The eyes of the nation and world will be on Charlotte soon, and the
Mint is prepared to lead the way in displaying the depth and breadth
of our city's ascending cultural scene," said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson,
President & CEO of the Mint. "We are proud to be able to bring two
such significant exhibitions to our community and visitors."

Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial
30 June – 30 September 2012
"All truth is hard truth. We're in the darkness now, and we got to
accept the hard truth to bring on the light. You can hide the truth,
but you can't get rid of it. When truth come out in the light, we get
the beauty of the world." –Thornton Dial

An artist raised in the rural South, Thornton Dial (in photo0 is a
keen observer of the human spectacle and its narratives of corruption
and moral strength, folly and triumph. As an artist, he has spent the
last two decades exploring the truth of American history and culture
in all its complexities and contradictions. This exhibition presents a
major survey of Dial's work, an epic gathering of over fifty large-
scale paintings, sculptures, and wall assemblages that address the
most compelling issues of our time.

The Mint is kicking off the exhibition with a pre-opening reception,
"Get DIAL'd In," on June 27 from 6-10 p.m. at Mint Museum Uptown. The
event will feature a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Carolina
Chocolate Drops, and Dial himself is scheduled to be present as a
special guest. Tickets are $50 for Mint members, and $75 for non-
members, and proceeds will benefit the Romare Bearden Society, which
supports acquisitions of works by African American artists. (

The exhibition and opening reception are brought to the community with
generous support from Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo is proud to provide
major funding to bring this compelling exhibition to the community,"
said Jay Everette, the chair-elect of The Mint Museum's Board of
Trustees and the Senior Vice President and Community Affairs Manager
for Greater Charlotte for Wells Fargo. "And we are especially excited
to host the opening community celebration. We invite our neighbors and
friends to join in previewing these highly significant works by Mr.

Added Brad Thomas, the Mint's curator of contemporary art: "Since I
joined the Mint team in January, it has been my distinct pleasure to
work with our staff and many supporters on bringing this remarkable
body of work to our museum. This retrospective exhibition shines a
well-deserved light on one of the most original and prolific American
artists of our time."

The Mint decided to engage both its campuses in the exhibition. In
addition to the large-scale assemblages on display at Mint Museum
Uptown, a selection of drawings by Dial will be on display at Mint
Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road in Charlotte, in the Dickson
Gallery for the duration of the exhibition.

Dial spent his childhood toiling in the farm fields of western
Alabama, followed by decades spent as a laborer in the region's
factories and heavy industry. A working-class man whose art was weaned
in the unheralded expressive practices of the black vernacular South,
Dial speaks in a voice long overlooked in the canons of modern art and
culture. Since his discovery in the late 1980s, critics have likened
Dial's complex and tumultuous creations to the renowned works of such
artists as Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer.

To create his art, Dial employs a vast universe of symbolically
charged materials — from plastic grave flowers, child's toys, bed
springs, and carpet scraps to cow skulls and goat carcasses. Salvaged
from garbage cans and trash heaps, these items reappear in dense
accumulations amidst the artist's fields of dripped paint and
expressionistic brushworks.

Over the years, Dial has tackled a wide range of social and political
subjects in his art, from gripping commentaries on the homeless, the
abuse of the environment, and the failings of global capitalism to
haunting meditations on the War in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the
tragedy of 9/11. Concerned with representing those otherwise rendered
invisible within the contours of history, he has also created many
works on the plight of women, labor, the rural poor, and the
impoverished underclass. Still other paintings and sculptures examine
the long history of racial oppression in America. Recounting the
atrocities of slavery and Southern sharecropping, the aspirations of
the Great Migration, the fight for Civil Rights, and other episodes in
black memory, these pieces form a powerful anthology on the human
struggle for freedom and equality.

A fully illustrated catalogue is available in The Mint Museum Shops
for $45. In addition to the support provided by Wells Fargo, Hard
Truths: The Art of Thornton Dialreceived additional support provided
by Duke Energy. Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial is organized by
the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
30 June – 23 September 2012

During her career in public service, Madeleine Albright famously used
her jewelry to communicate diplomatic messages. Read My Pins: The
Madeleine Albright Collectionreveals an intriguing story of American
history and foreign policy as told through former U.S. Secretary of
State Albright's jeweled pins.

"I am delighted that the pin exhibition will be at the spectacular
Mint Museum, particularly at such an important time for Charlotte,"
said Secretary Albright. "This is an exciting time for Charlotte
residents to share with the rest of the world the city's rich and
diverse cultural heritage."

Albright will visit Charlotte in July for a series of events to
promote community learning and engagement with the exhibition. On
Friday July 13, following a media event at the museum, Albright will
appear at a members-only reception at 6:30 p.m. (tickets are $150 per
person, $200 per couple; attendees must be Mint members to purchase).
On Saturday July 14, she will appear at a special educational program
for invited local students before conducting a public conversation at
Mint Museum Uptown at 1 p.m., followed by a book signing. Tickets to
the public event are $20, or $10 for members. (

The collection that Secretary Albright cultivated is distinctive and
democratic — sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish
and outspoken — and spans more than a century of jewelry design and
fascinating pieces from across the globe. The more than 200 works on
view are chosen for their symbolic value. While some are fine
antiques, many are costume jewelry. Together the pieces in this
expressive collection explore the power of jewelry to communicate
through a style and language of its own.

Albright told reporters during a visit to the Mint in February: "My
pin collection….would not exist if it had not been for Saddam
Hussein." Jewelry became part of Albright's diplomatic arsenal in 1994
when Saddam Hussein's government-controlled press referred to
Albright, who was at that time U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,
as an "unparalleled serpent." At her next meeting on the subject of
Iraq, Albright wore a golden snake brooch, beginning a career-long
practice of using jewelry to convey and reinforce diplomatic messages.

"While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying 'Read my
lips,' I began urging colleagues and reporters to 'Read my pins',"
Albright has said. This traveling exhibition is accompanied by the
book "Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box" (2009), which
is on sale now in The Mint Museum Shops ($40). Secretary Albright has
given the world an opportunity to explore American history and foreign
policy through the unique lens of jewelry.

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection is brought to The Mint
Museum through the support of Perry's at SouthPark. Generous support
for the original exhibition was provided by Bren Simon and for the
exhibition catalogue by St. John Knits. Organized by the Museum of
Arts and Design in New York.

Calendar listings for media:

Wednesday June 27: "Get DIAL'd In:" Opening reception for Hard Truths:
The Art of Thornton Dial featuring performance by Carolina Chocolate
Drops. 6-10 p.m., Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts,
500 South Tryon Street, Charlotte. Tickets $50 for Mint members; $75
for non-members. Visit to purchase.

Saturday June 30: Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial and Read My
Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection open to the public. 10 a.m.,
Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon
Street. A selection of drawings by Thornton Dial will also open at
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte.

Friday July 13: Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
members-only reception. 6:30 p.m., Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center
for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street. Admission $150 per individual/
$200 per couple; must be Mint members to purchase. Visit for details.

Saturday July 14: "A conversation with former Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright." Public lecture and book signing. 1 p.m., Mint
Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts, 500 South Tryon Street.
Admission $10 Mint members; $20 non-members. Tickets are sold out for
James B. Duke auditorium, but satellite seating in the Robert Haywood
Morrison Atrium is still available.

Levine Center for the Arts is one of Charlotte's key cultural
destinations, comprised of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B.
Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L.
Knight Theater, Mint Museum Uptown, and Duke Energy Center. The Levine
Center was made possible through the Campaign for Cultural Facilities,
the support of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and the
generosity of the Leon Levine Foundation, one of the country's largest
and most impactful philanthropic organizations.

The opening of Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial at the Mint
coincides with the opening of America I AM: The African American
Imprint at the Gantt Center.America I AM, on display 30 June 2012-1
January 2013, celebrates nearly 500 years of African American
contributions to the United States. The exhibition was developed in
partnership with Tavis Smiley and organized by Cincinnati Museum
Center and Arts and Exhibitions International (AEI). America I AM is
made possible by Wal-Mart, which serves as its presenting sponsor.
Visit for more information.


As the oldest art museum in North Carolina, and the art museum 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, ground-breaking
exhibitions, riveting educational programs, and profound scholarship.
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 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 more information, check