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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.