Thursday, March 12, 2009

From The Village to Vogue

Art Smith's orginal sign that was displayed
on his storefront in Greenwich village on Cornelia St.
in the mid 1900's

"Patina" Necklace inspired by Calder's mobiles

Recently, I visited the Brooklyn Art Museum for the first time, and was impressed by the enormity of the structure, but the exhibit that the Museum is currently housing through July 19th of Art Smith's jewelry was very inspirational. The exhibit honors the gift of twenty-one pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by the Brooklyn-reared modernist jeweler, primarily from Charles Russel, Smith's companion and heir.

The amazing biomorphic, surrealistic, and primitive inspired gems are very light weight and wearable. The jewelry dates from the late 1940's to the 1970's and includes his most famous pieces, such as a "Patina" necklace inspired by the mobiles of Alexander Calder; a "Lava" bracelet, or cuff, that extends over the entire lower arm in undulating and overlapping forms; and a massive ring with three semi-precious stones that stretches over three fingers.

I think I was instantly drawn to the jewelry because they reminded me of Alexander Calder's art, that organicness that you see in Calder's work you also see in Smith's as well.. Learning that Smith, along with other jewelers of his time were actually inspired by Calder and his kinetic, abstract designs made me even more intrigued with all the beautiful gold and silver creatures lurking behind the display cases.

Like Calder, they used high quality materials such as gold, platinum, and precious stones. "Their jewelry was an ornamental interpretation of contemporary art that integrated an awareness of the human form and the notion of wearbility."

If you are in the New York area, I highly recommend you check this exhibit out before it is pulled on July 19th.

Previous post about Alexander Calder

Photos: Jesse, C.C.


Anonymous said...

Jesse, the cuffs are fantastic. Love 'em. Wouldn't be able to wear'em, probably (where to -- the market? :), but love'em all the same.

The Concrete Commentator said...

Elizabeth.. you would be the most glamorous at the market!!

diane said...

Beautiful pieces.

Anonymous said...

I would, Jesse, wouldn't I, ha ha... Even with my post-craniotomy bruise. :) Oh, what a little bling can do for a girl's life, in any circumstances.