New art jewellery exhibition at Museum of Arts and Design in New York
While many pieces of jewellery are described as works of art
because of the craftsmanship involved, some are literal works of
art, like those on show at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York (MAD).
Until 2 June you can view a 130-strong collection of exceptional
art jewellery, acquired by MAD over the past five years, as part of
its new exhibition, Wear It or Not. Add to this the vast archive of
jewellery in MAD's permanent collection and you have one very good
reason to head to Manhattan.
As the title of the exhibition suggests, it is difficult to know
whether these pieces have been designed to be worn or displayed as
you would a sculpture. Blurring the line between jewellery and art,
it's a fascinating mix of conceptual jewellery by avant-garde
jewellers of the past, artists and the most imaginative artist
jewellers at work today.
Some pieces, such as Heather White van Stolk's Ring Swallowing a
Pearl, are beautifully realised and wearable jewels. Turning the
classic idea of a ring on its head, a tiny pearl nestles in a
concave gold surround. A twisted necklace by Jocelyn Kolb, made up
of a concertina of nylon folds, incorporates hidden LED lights. And
Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright's horn bracelet is part
jewellery, part musical instrument. One of a series of functioning
pieces of audio jewellery, put it to you lips, blow and out comes a
convincing trumpet sound.
Other exhibits sit more comfortably in the realm of art, like
jeweller Kiff Slemmons' The Pointilist. One part knuckle duster,
four parts sharpened pencil, it could double as a lethal weapon.
When Kim Buck's beautiful series of silver and gold brooches are
placed together, they show the perfect imprint of a string of
pearls. And William Harper's self-portrait in jewels is a wonder to
behold. A wooden cask, pierced with nails of all shapes and sizes
and containing an eclectic assortment of treasures, you could pore
over it for hours.
Wear It or Not runs until 2 June 2013 at the
Museum of Arts and Design in NYC.