Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shows will embody Mint traditions, widen its range

Besides opening two exhibitions last weekend, the Mint Museum Uptown is signaling what else it's bringing to Charlotte over the next year or so. They show the Mint striving to keep in touch with its roots -- through a wide-ranging decorative-arts exhibition, for instance -- while broadening its cultural horizons. 

"Sociales: Debora Arango Arrives Today" will introduce Charlotte to a pioneer of modern art in Colombia. Arango, who died in 2005 at age 98, depicted the upheavals and and social problems she witnessed during her eight-decade career -- especially during the unofficial civil war in the 1940s and '50s called "la epoca de la Violencia." Arango was at first castigated but ultimately honored for her paintings, which dramatize themes including poverty, prostitution, women's issues, violence and injustice. 
"She did it with brazen language," Colombian artist Fernando Botero said in Arango's obituary in the New York Times. "She was not preoccupied with aesthetics. What was central was expressing herself." Arango's "Justice," above, from the Museum of Modern Art of Medellin, Colombia, may drive home Botero's point. 
The show will run Feb. 23-June 16. 
"F.O.O.D.: Food, Objects, Objectives, Design" will showcase about 300 handmade and mass-produced items created for use preparing, cooking or presenting food. The show will be laid out in four sections: TABLE, a low-light, stylized dining area fitted out with place settings; KITCHEN, displaying high-design appliances and utensils; PANTRY, spotlighting the graphic design of food packaging and advertising; and GARDEN, a corridor with objects inspired by fruit and vegetables. 
Organized with Food Cultura of Barcelona, Spain, the show will have labels and texts in English and Spanish. It will run March 2-July 7.  
"Return to the Sea: Saltworks of Motoi Yamamoto" will be a large-scale installation built, sure enough, of salt. In Japan, Yamamoto's home, salt is a symbol of purification and mourning. Among its symbolic uses, it's employed during funeral rituals, and small piles of it are put at the entrances of restaurants and businesses to repel evil spirits. Yamamoto began working with salt after the death of his sister at age 24. 
"Drawing a labyrinth with salt is like following a trace of my memory," Yamamoto has said. "Memories seem to change and vanish as time goes by; however, what I seek is to capture a frozen moment that cannot be attained through pictures or writings." 
Yamamoto will spend two weeks at the Mint next spring crafting his installation, which be on display March 2-May 26. 
"Inventing  the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's Fairs, 1851-1939." The show, coming the Mint next fall, will feature more than 200 items -- including glass, furniture, jewelry, ceramics and ceramics -- created for world expositions. They range from a massive Gothic Revival cabinet from the 1850s to an Art Deco glass chair from the 1930s to jewelry and porcelain by Tiffany, Baccarat, Cartier and Sevres.
"We associate world's fairs with fun, and also with signature architecture like the Eiffel Tower and the Crystal Palace," said Julian Zugazagoitia, director of Kansas City's Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where the show debuted last spring. "But the importance of world's fairs was reflected in the objects that continue to inspire elegance and creativity." 

The show will run Sept. 21, 2013-Jan. 19, 2014.