The Artist as Jeweler
Necklace, Alexander Calder (Copyright Sherry Griffin); pendant, Roy Lichtenstein (Copyright Sherry Griffin)

Curator Diane Venet began collecting artist-made jewelry nearly 20 years ago, after receiving a crafted wedding ring from sculptor (and now husband) Bernar Venet. Since then, she's amassed pieces by creators ranging from Roy Lichtenstein to Yoko Ono, all of which are on display at the Museum of Arts and Design's new exhibit: "The Artist as Jeweler."

Of the show's some 180 baubles, many are decidedly in the style of the artist who designed them: Jeff Koons's iconic rabbit necklace, which he made for Stella McCartney, or René Magritte's apple-as-mask brooch, which evokes his famous painting The Son of Man.

Other pieces, however, are surprising departures for their makers. We were fascinated to learn that this simple and elegant pendant came courtesy of avant-garde photographer Man Ray.

Other featured artists include Damien Hirst, Jasper Johns and Georges Braque, and it's often fun to see what kind of jewelry designers such visionaries might have been. We would gladly wear Frank Stella's gorgeously knotted gold necklace, for instance.

But the most interesting pieces are those that come with a story attached. Is it any surprise, after all, that Picasso made similar amulets for multiple women?

"The Artist as Jeweler" runs through January 8 at the Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle (at Eighth Ave.); 212-299-7777 or madmuseum.org

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