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Jewelry of Ideas at Cooper Hewitt

Leading New York art and design world figure Susan Grant Lewin gifts key works from her seminal jewellery collection to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. An honorary exhibition runs till 28 May 2018.

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Where can an anthropomorphic invitation for a Gaetano Pesce opening appear next to a coal and recycled paper feather necklace by Attai Chen? Only within New York art and design world doyenne Susan Grant Lewin’s comprehensively eclectic jewellery collection. Marking her gift of key works from this seminal archive, The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum exhibits a capsule showcase (till 28 May 2018).

On view is a wide array of works that demonstrate how this area of design can also embody bold experimentation; pushing the limits of material properties and object definitions. What does jewellery constitute in this day and age? How does it work to extend our identity and present our taste? Why does it only have to be decorative? At the intersection of art and design, the medium can serve many functions, interpretations and, in no small measure, conceptual messages.

Co-curated by Ursula Ilse-Neuman and the Cooper Hewitt, The Jewelry of Ideas exhibition presents over 150 brooches, necklaces, bracelets and rings, from as varied a source as a Palladian villa in Veneto or cigarette smoke: Giampaolo Babetto’s mathematically proportioned ring and Otto Künzli’s 1987 Manhattan Piece respectively. Certain pieces make strong political and environmental statements while others champion the use of repurposed or up-cycled materials to express self-referential narratives. Some reflexively manifest their own process. What is most evident to the visitor is a rich plethora of materials, textures, and structures that challenge archetypical form. Amongst the group of craft-driven talents on show are recognised names such as Ted Noten, Arline Fisch, and Joyce Scott.

Pulled from Grant Lewin’s extensive travels, unfettered curiosity, and personal relationships, many of the works on view are created by talents from around the world; namely Germany, Holland, Japan, Israel, and the U.S. After decades of collecting, she still seeks out works that are radical yet refined; embodying a changing zeitgeist.   

The Jewelry of Ideas: till 28 May 2018
Cooper Hewitt: 2 East 91st Street, New York

Joyce Scott; Necklace, 2016; Glass beads, thread (Peyote stitch technique); H x W x D: 34.2 × 24 × 1.5 cm (13 7/16 × 9 7/16 × 9/16 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Joyce Scott; Necklace, 2016; Glass beads, thread (Peyote stitch technique); H x W x D: 34.2 × 24 × 1.5 cm (13 7/16 × 9 7/16 × 9/16 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Giampaolo Babetto; Brooch, 1995; Molded, pressed, folded and stippled 18k gold sheet with applied pigment; H x W x D: 6.2 × 4 × 2.6 cm (2 7/16 × 1 9/16 × 1 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Giampaolo Babetto; Brooch, 1995; Molded, pressed, folded and stippled 18k gold sheet with applied pigment; H x W x D: 6.2 × 4 × 2.6 cm (2 7/16 × 1 9/16 × 1 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Thomas Gentille; Design for Jewelry; Print on paper; Frame: H x W x D: 38.7 × 31.1 × 4.4 cm (15 1/4 × 12 1/4 × 1 3/4 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Thomas Gentille; Design for Jewelry; Print on paper; Frame: H x W x D: 38.7 × 31.1 × 4.4 cm (15 1/4 × 12 1/4 × 1 3/4 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Sam Tho Duong; Ginger Brooch from the Ginger Series, 2004; Electroformed silver; H x W x D: 4.8 × 6.4 × 2 cm (1 3/4 × 2 1/4 × 1 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Sam Tho Duong; Ginger Brooch from the Ginger Series, 2004; Electroformed silver; H x W x D: 4.8 × 6.4 × 2 cm (1 3/4 × 2 1/4 × 1 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Ted Noten; Crazy Glasses, 2008; Silver, fur, snakeskin; H x W x D: 45 × 15 × 2.5 cm (17 11/16 × 5 7/8 × 1 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Ted Noten; Crazy Glasses, 2008; Silver, fur, snakeskin; H x W x D: 45 × 15 × 2.5 cm (17 11/16 × 5 7/8 × 1 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Otto Künzli; Pendant from the Fragments Series, 1986; Picture frame fragment, wood, steel; H x W x D: 35 × 26 × 3 cm (13 3/4 × 10 1/4 × 1 3/16 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Otto Künzli; Pendant from the Fragments Series, 1986; Picture frame fragment, wood, steel; H x W x D: 35 × 26 × 3 cm (13 3/4 × 10 1/4 × 1 3/16 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Ivy Ross; Necklace from the Colorcore Personal Adornment Series, 1983; Colorcore Formica fragments, clothespins (painted wood, metal), cord; L x W x D: 36.3 x 26.4 x 1.3 cm (14 5/16 x 10 3/8 x 1/2 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Ivy Ross; Necklace from the Colorcore Personal Adornment Series, 1983; Colorcore Formica fragments, clothespins (painted wood, metal), cord; L x W x D: 36.3 x 26.4 x 1.3 cm (14 5/16 x 10 3/8 x 1/2 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Attai Chen; Untitled (5) from the Compounding Fractions Series, 2010; Paper, paint, coal, glue, linen; H x W x D: 20.5 × 15 × 7.3 cm (8 1/16 × 5 7/8 × 2 7/8 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Attai Chen; Untitled (5) from the Compounding Fractions Series, 2010; Paper, paint, coal, glue, linen; H x W x D: 20.5 × 15 × 7.3 cm (8 1/16 × 5 7/8 × 2 7/8 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Friedrich Becker; Ring (kinetic), 1993; Silver, acrylic; H x D: 3.5 x 3.2 cm (1 3/8 x 1 1/4 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Friedrich Becker; Ring (kinetic), 1993; Silver, acrylic; H x D: 3.5 x 3.2 cm (1 3/8 x 1 1/4 in.); The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
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