Art Smith: Jewelry, Jazz, and Jeté

Thu, Feb 16, 2023

Join us for an evening of jewelry, jazz, and dance, as we celebrate the modernist jeweler Art Smith, whose work is currently on view in Jewelry Stories. Smith confronted barriers of race, sexual orientation, and class to become a successful purveyor of wearable sculpture. Among his clients were haute giltterati, such as Duke Ellington, Pearl Primus, and Lena Horne.

In honor of Smith, jazz singer Lezlie Harrison will perform a special selection of songs that embody the spirit of Smith’s work. The evening will also feature a modern dance performance by Kevin Boseman set to recordings of Art Smith’s recollections of his life and work, a screening of a short profile of the jeweler from the PBS series Craft in America, and a conversation with jewelry expert Sebastian Grant on Smith’s artistic inspirations and legacy.

The event is hosted and guest curated by Souleo.

About the participants

Kevin Boseman most recently choreographed Nina Simone: Four Women at South Coast Repertory Theatre. Other choreographic credits include the world premiere of the critically acclaimed America v. 2.1 at Barrington Stage Company, and concert and staged readings at The Apollo Theater and Ojai Playwrights Festival. Kevin began his professional career as a dancer, performing soloist roles with the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company and as a principal dancer with the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. An alumnus of the esteemed Atlantic Acting School, he made his Broadway debut as the standby for the Horses in the Broadway revival of Equus. Other theatrical credits include Broadway National tours of The Lion King, The Color Purple, and Shrek the Musical. Among upcoming projects is choreography for the world premiere of How To Break, a hip hop inspired musical at The Village Theatre.

Sebastian Grant is a curator, art historian, and adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design. He received his B.A, at McGill University and M.A. from the Parsons School of Design/Cooper Hewitt History of Design and Curatorial Studies. During the program, he was a Cooper Hewitt Fellow and helped to curate Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, and Jewelry of Ideas: The Susan Grant Lewin Collection. His current scholarship explores the history of Black jewelry art of the 20th Century, and he has presented his research at New York City Jewelry Week and in lectures at Parsons and the Boston MFA. He also contributes on the subject for Metalsmith and Art Jewelry Forum, hoping to bring more awareness to the legacies of these designers.

Lezlie Harrison is her own personal renaissance. Be it jazz, blues, gospel, soul, the American song form, or originals, Harrison imbues it with her distinctive stamp and make a very personal delivery. On the premier jazz radio station WBGO, her voice as a regular curator and presenter reveals the love and pride with which she regards America's classical music. Active on the New York and global jazz scenes, Lezlie is, along with the late Dale Fitzgerald and trumpeter Roy Hargrove, a member of the triumvirate responsible for launching New York's world-renowned Jazz Gallery. For more information:

Souleo is an acclaimed creative, curator, impresario, consultant, and muse who documents and amplifies the stories of the emerging and underrepresented via exhibitions, events, and writing. Souleo has collaborated with noteworthy institutions and brands, including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Brooklyn Public Library/Center for Brooklyn History, Columbia University, Barnard College, Newark Museum of Art, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Nordstrom, and AARP. @souleouniverse

Image: Installation of Art Smith’s 1948 brass neckpiece in Jewelry Stories.

Please review our health and safety protocols before you arrive. MAD strongly recommends all visitors six months and older are vaccinated against Covid-19 and visitors ages two and up wear face coverings, even if vaccinated. Thank you for your cooperation.

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