We can’t all be lucky enough to live in or near a large cultural center like New York City or London, but in most areas there are plenty of smaller museums and historical sites that are well worth seeking out. The Mint Museum in Charlotte, is a two and a half hours drive for me, but it is well worth the effort and gas money, especially when combined with a bit of shopping. It’s rarely crowded, never any line, and there are plenty of treasures to discover.
I’m a bit ashamed that I’d never visited the Mint’s uptown Charlotte location, especially since I was so pleasantly surprised by the exhibitions. The facility houses the Mint’s craft and design collection, but it also has a great exhibition of American art. As icing on this artistic cake, there are a few items of clothing from the Mint’s costume collection also on view.
The photo above shows a Charles Frederick Worth evening cape, made of silk velvet, point de Venise lace, glass beads, metallic sequins, and silk tulle. M. Worth did not do “less is more.” I love how the creator of the exhibit resisted the urge to add any additional items to this display. I’ve had concerns about over-accessorizating in some of the Mint costume exhibitions.
This early Twentieth century bathing suit is labeled “Water Sprite.” It’s perfectly accessorized with the black stockings and bathing shoes, which I love.
In the same vein a summer painting by artist William James Glackens is shown. Good Harbor Beach, 1919.
This 1920s “Orientalist” evening frock is labeled “Pascaud, Paris”
The Mint also has a good collection of the works of Romare Bearden, who was born in Charlotte. This work is Girl in the Garden, 1979.
The contemporary craft collection is also very interesting. This bowl is actually made of wood which is painted. The artist is Binh Pho, the work, Realm of a Dream, 2007.
This work is stitchery on paper. The artist is Anila Rubiku, the work, Mastering Freedom, 2006
This installation by Hildur Bjarnadittir took up an entire wall. The squares are crocheted wool which were dyed using plant material.
What makes Urban Color Palatte interesting is that Bjarnadittir gathered the plants from along roadsides and vacant lots in Charlotte. Even though the dye stuffs were basiclly what we consider to be waste plants, or weeds, the results produced a wide range of color and character. The same concept might also be applied to humans.