Imagine strolling through clean, bright halls, surrounded by immaculate display cases filled with baubles and trinkets, the steam-polished precious metals and gems coruscating in the glare of spotlights. Hear your feet clacking on the white floors, stopping to look closer at the jewelry on display, but not close enough to stir the ire of the security guard peering over your shoulder. Imagine wanting everything you see, from diamond diadems to neon-tubed necklaces. No, you’re not in Tiffany’s or Cartier, you’re in the Museum of Arts and Design, gazing at their new show, Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler.
Diane Venet has amassed a comprehensive collection over the years of wonderful works of adornment forged by the hands of the West’s most celebrated fine artists. Lending her treasures to the Museum of Arts and Design this fall, Venet has curated an exceptional breadth of work typically excluded from the art historical canon. With selections from Giorgio de Chirico to Man Ray, most of the jewelry on display was never mass-produced, rather made as labored-over tokens of affection or admiration.
Their relative obscurity doesn’t occlude the immediate recognition of an artist’s aesthetic. Salvador Dali’s “Ruby Lip” (ca. 1940s), a brooch modeled after a luscious mouth studded with red precious stones, inlaid with rows of pearls representing teeth is extremely evocative of the surrealist’s style. Similarly, Roy Lichtenstein’s pendants and brooches use his signature primary colors and comic book graphic aesthetic. Even Andy Warhol’s “Time 5” (1988), a watch boasting five faces, seamlessly connects to his numerous silk-screened images.
This connection solidifies the works on display as part of the oeuvre of important 20th Century artists, small-scale sculptures and paintings meant to hang around a neck or a wrist instead of a wall. The crossover and questionable relationship these objects have to masterpieces like Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” (1907) and Damien Hirst’s “For the Love of God” (2007) leave a lot of room for interpretation, most importantly in relation to the key idea of the entire exhibition: intimacy.
Because they were not grand, public presentations of vision and talent, these cultural artifacts allowed the wearer to embody art and all it signifies. What does it mean to wear a charm bracelet of prescription medication (Damien Hirst, “Pill Charm” ) or a velvet rabbit brooch in International Klein Blue (Yves Klein, “Blue Velvet Bunny Brooch” )? It adds a new dimension to personal and artistic expression that continues the rapidly expanding dialogue on the state of the arts and craft.
Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler is on display now at the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle, midtown Manhattan) until January 8, 2012.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.
The Women Artists Commemorated on an NYC Sidewalk
The signatures of Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, and six other historical women artists are engraved on a small stretch of sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Met Museum Repatriates 15 Objects to India
The sculptures were all at one point sold by the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Placed on Russian “Wanted” List
Tolokonnikova has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s regime.
“Time 5” was from 1988? Didn’t Warhol die in 1987? Is this more Don Killuminati or R U Still Down?
Yes Will, Warhol did die in 1987, however the object label dated it “1988”. My guess is it was released after his death (well, that’s not so much a guess.) http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5209636
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