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A fall feast for lovers of the contemporary

The big moment for the upcoming visual arts season happens at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1. With a ribbon cutting, the Mint Museum Uptown opens, the last of four institutions in the Levine Center for the Arts.

The Mint kicks off with two major exhibitions. Add in other shows by uptown arts groups and you've got a feast of contemporary art.

"New Visions: Contemporary Masterworks from the Bank of America Collection" at the Mint offers a rare look at the esteemed art holdings of Charlotte's chief corporate citizen.

Put together by the Mint's Carla Hanzal - and paid for by the bank - the show includes about 60 American works from 1945 forward, paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs - with big names such as Frank Stella and Deborah Butterfield.

The around 100 names in "Contemporary British Studio Ceramics: The Grainer Collection" are not as well known.

But this show offers a first look on these shores of stellar work from the classic to the edgy. Made between the 1980s and 2009, the pieces are sculptural and functional (what the British call "honest pots.")

The more than 60 works in "School of Paris: European Abstraction Post World War II," a new show at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, complements the Bank of America exhibit.

Drawn from the Bechtler holdings and the first change in exhibits since the January opening, the paintings, prints and artists' books show what European artists working at roughly the same time as the Americans were up to - people such as Alfred Manessier, Pierre Soulages, Alberto Magnelli.

Sam Gilliam is one of the most lyrical abstract and color field painters of the last 50 years. For the past 15, he has mentored Kevin Cole. Works by both appear "Protégé" at the Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture.

Gilliam is known for his lush color. Cole creates three-dimensional works influenced by the relationship between color and music, and focused on the necktie as an icon, motif and symbol of power.

Hong Seon Jang and Jonathan Brilliant bring contemporary art up to the present moment. Their installations, "ZipStir," will be at the McColl Center for Visual Art on North Tryon Street, where both are artists-in-residence.

Using common materials, each makes works that challenge and change the environment. For Jang its plastic zip ties, for Brilliant ,coffee shop stir sticks. (Hence "ZipStir.")

Should be wild.

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