Get DIAL’d In
Mint Museum Uptown celebrates Thornton Dial in reception benefiting the Romare Bearden Society
The Mint Museum Uptown kicked off the much anticipated exhibition of the renowned Alabamian artist Thornton Dial with a pre-opening reception, “Get DIAL’d In,” on Wednesday June 27th. The 84 year-old artist was the guest of honor. Dial was clearly pleased by the showing as evidenced by a broad smile and wave of acknowledgement he shared with the gathering of nearly 300.
Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President and CEO of the Mint, and Mr. Richard T. “Stick” Williams, Chair, Board of Trustees served as hosts for the sold-out crowd who previewed Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial. Jameson noted that when the opportunity presented itself to exhibit Dial’s work and have it on display throughout the Democratic National Convention, it was an easy decision to make.
“We’re thrilled to showcase the work of this important artist,” said Jameson, “Dial is truly a national treasure and his work underscores what it means to be an American.”
The exhibit featured more than 30 large-scale paintings, sculptures and wall assemblages representing the broad range of the work of this storied master. Born and raised in the Deep South, much has been made of Dial’s early years as a laborer in emerging industrial America. His art received national recognition in the 1980s where his unique and pioneering assemblage work with mixed media earned him praise and comparison by critics to well regarded artists such as Jackson Pollock and Anselm Kiefer.
The Mint is engaging both its campuses in the exhibition. In addition to the display at Mint Museum Uptown, a selection of drawings by Dial will be on shown at the Mint Museum Randolph in the Dickson Gallery.
More than $8000.00 was raised from the event according to Mint staffers with the funds directly benefiting the Romare Bearden Society which supports acquisitions of works by African American artists. Bearden, one of Charlotte’s most shining native sons is celebrated at the Mint with a permanent gallery featuring his work. The gallery is hosting several visiting Bearden prints through September 14th in a special exhibit featuring his later works.
Dr. Kim Blanding is the incoming chair of the Romare Bearden Society at the Mint. “It is gratifying to see this level of support and know that the contributions made tonight go toward furthering our growing collection,” said Blanding. “I could not be more pleased.”
In an extra special treat the event featured a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. The quartet is reminiscent of old time string bands popular in the rural south over a century ago. They hail from Durham, NC and were enthusiastically received for their rousing performance.
The exhibit opens formally on Saturday, June 30th alongside Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection. This exhibit features a collection of 200 pins, mostly costume jewelry that the former Secretary of State used in her diplomatic arsenal in interfacing with heads of state all over the globe. – Michael J. Solender
Photos by Joe Martin