Exhibits at three different museums showcase wearable art from diverse cultures and demonstrate that there’s more to jewelry than simply adornment.
“Holocaust” neck piece, Joyce J. Scott (2013)
Neckpieces and blown glass sculptures by Joyce J. Scott is the focus of a thought-provoking exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD). Entitled “Maryland to Murano,” the exhibition is the first “to examine the relationship between Scott’s beaded and constructed neck pieces created in her Baltimore, Maryland studio and her more recent blown glass sculptures crafted in the Brenego Studio on Murano Island in Venice, Italy,” according to MAD. The exhibit is on view through March 15, 2015.
Bracelet, Raymond C. Yazzie, 2005. Silver inlaid with coral, turquoise, lapis lazuli, 14-karat gold accents.
Glittering World: Navajo Jewlery of the Yazzie Family features almost 300 examples of contemporary jewelry made by members of one Gallup, New Mexico family. The works on view at the National Museum of the American Indian are silver, gold, and stone inlay work, combining bead and stonework as well as silver and gold. The exhibition, states the museum, “places Navajo jewelry making within its historical context of art and commerce, illustrates its development as a form of cultural expression, and explores the meanings behind its symbolism.” The exhibit is on view through January 2016.
Pair of Gold Anklets (1800–50), Al-Thani collection
Finally, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection. Though a smaller exhibit, the sixty items on display here showcase the intricate and colorful styles of the jeweled arts in India from the Mughal period until the present day. They all come from the private collection formed by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani. The exhibit will be open until January 25, 2015.
An iconic cuff worn by Coco Chanel; a curb link watch synonymous with Greta Garbo; and gold cigarette cases commemorating every musical composed by Cole Porter, are just a few of the unique items you will see at “The Power of Style: Verdura At 75.” This year is the 75th anniversary of Duke Fulco di Verdura opening his doors on Fifth Avenue. Verdura, the jewelry company that carries his name, is celebrating with a museum worthy exhibit.
Duke Fulco di Verdura with Coco Chanel
Duke Fulco di Verdura began his career working with Coco Chanel in Paris where he created her signature Maltese Cross cuffs. In 1934, Verdura came to the United States, creating jewels for Hollywood stars, and the wealthy of American and European societies. In 1939, Verdura opened his store on Fifth Avenue in New York with the financial backing of Cole Porter and Vincent Astor. He was not trained as either a jeweler or an artist but his creations belie this reality. The exhibition features a selection of more than 150 of Verdura’s original jewels and objets d’art. There is also a small selection of his 10,000 gouache jewelry designs, archival materials, his personal miniature paintings, and period photographs. You can hear Verdura talk about his work and inspirations in a rare interview he did with WOR Radio.
Ward Landrigan, Chairman & CEO and Nico Landrigan, President
What made the visit to the exhibit extraordinary was being given a tour by Chairman and CEO Ward Landrigan. He purchased the company in 1984, six years after Verdura’s death. Mr. Landrigan has said, “it’s been my dream to share Verdura’s genius with a wider audience and bring him the recognition he deserves as the single most influential jeweler of the 20th Century. I want people to know this amazing man, who he was and why his work changed everything.” Landrigan’s passion for Verdura is clear as he shares his personal experiences and tells the stories behind every piece in the exhibition
The exhibit was curated by Carolina and Reinoldo Herrera, and Patricia Lansing. It will be on view until December 23rd. Though it’s free, you will need timed tickets to attend. Be sure to take the guided tour too.