News / USA

Picasso, Other Greats Created 'Wearable Art'

New York Museum showcases jewelry made by renowned artists

A pendant by Pablo Picasso, who often created jewelry for his lovers.
A pendant by Pablo Picasso, who often created jewelry for his lovers.

Multimedia

Audio

Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Robert Rauschenberg left behind works of art which are instantly recognizable: Picasso, whose portraits of his lovers merge profile and full face in a disjointed style; Calder with his giant mobiles; and Rauschenberg, famous in the West, with his huge combines made of every day materials and trash.

But few people know these artists also made jewelry. A New York museum has gathered rarely-seen jewels created by Picasso, Calder and many other famous artists.

Of the 200 pendants, brooches and rings at the Museum of Arts and Design, 130 were collected by Diane Venet, a French woman and former journalist.

She didn’t start out thinking she’d collect jewelry by famous artists. But early in life, she fell in love with Bernar Venet, a French sculptor.  

“I met my husband 26 years ago,” she says, “and not very long after, he twisted a piece of silver around my finger as a kind of engagement ring. This is the first piece of artist jewelry I had actually.”

American artist Frank Stella gave this necklace to Diane Venet, who guest curated the jewelry show in New York.
American artist Frank Stella gave this necklace to Diane Venet, who guest curated the jewelry show in New York.

Most of Bernar Venet’s friends were artists who exchanged pieces with him. Soon, his wife had jewelry made by artists better known for their larger works, such as the French sculptor Cesar. His trademark was creating huge metal sculptures of crushed cars.

“The germ was within me and I couldn’t help it,” she says. “I went on and on.”

Venet curated the show, “Picasso to Koons: Artist as Jeweler,” which focuses on artists not primarily known for making jewelry.

“The Museum of Arts and Design considers that jewelry is one of the most important art forms in contemporary life. And it cuts across many cultures and gender and race and creed,” says Holly Hotchner, director of the museum. “The idea is not to take a sculpture and then miniaturize it. The idea is to come up with a concept that really relates to the body.”

Picasso, with his Grand Faune pendant, did just that, says Venet about the piece she owns. A faun, in Roman mythology, is half man, half animal, a forest god. Picasso used this fantasized animal in many drawings. His Grand Faune pendant is one of eight Picasso jewels in this exhibit.

A Calder necklace, with his trademark circles. The artist often gifted jewelry pieces to his hostess at dinner parties.
A Calder necklace, with his trademark circles. The artist often gifted jewelry pieces to his hostess at dinner parties.

Venet believes Picasso’s jewelry shows the artist’s softer side. “I think it’s very special because it’s very personal. Picasso did it because he was in love with Marie Therese Walter, and he gave her a piece. And he was in love with Dora Maar and he did a piece for her. It was a love story, most of the time.”

Calder, the American artist known for his mobiles and wire sculptures, also dabbled in jewelry. A Calder necklace, with his trademark circles, is in the show.

“You would invite Calder for dinner,” says Venet, “and he would come with a piece for a present because he was making them in his studio.”

Sculptor Alberto Giacometti, famous for his ghostly human statues, is represented in the show by two pieces.

As the story goes, he agreed to make buttons for the early 20th century fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

“They were large, three inches ((8 centimeters)) wide, and in bronze," says Venet. "They were much too heavy. So she sent them back to him. He mounted them into brooches and gave them to friends.”

Although Venet never met Giacometti, Picasso or Calder, she did know a number of famous artists including Frank Stella, who she calls a friend. He gave her a necklace of painted gold on titanium.

Platinum bunny on a chain by American artist Jeff Koons
Platinum bunny on a chain by American artist Jeff Koons

The exhibit takes visitors through the contemporary period with a tiny platinum bunny on a chain by Jeff Koons, the American artist known for gargantuan sculptures, like the 13-meter high flower-covered puppy that dominated New York’s Rockefeller Center 10 years ago. His style is sometimes called post-pop.

A human-size inflated bunny made of steel was the model for his pendant. Museum director Hotchner says Koons is comfortable working in small scale.  

“He certainly has made, and it’s sort of part of his ethic and part of the way he approaches making, that he has made work that is small in scale, enormous in scale,” she says. “So it’s something he would be very comfortable with.”

She points out that not all artists are comfortable making art for the body. Some refused to create jewelry for Venet. Nevertheless, as the exhibit demonstrates, even a tiny piece can be a great work of art.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid