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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    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.