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Picasso to Koons: Artist as Jeweler, an Exhibition of Wearable Sculpture, to Open September 20, 2011

The Intimate, Often Whimsical Sides of Some of the Greatest Artists of Recent Times Are Revealed in some 200 Works, Each Offering a Singular Vision of Adornment

New York, NY (June 8, 2011)

The exceptional and little-known works of wearable sculpture presented this fall in Picasso to Koons: Artist as Jeweler will reward viewers with new insights into the creative wellsprings of such artistic giants as Georges Braque, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Louise Nevelson, Anthony Caro, Yoko Ono, and Anish Kapoor. Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design, in collaboration with guest curator Diane Venet, the editor of and contributor to the 2008 catalogue “Bijoux Sculptures,” Picasso to Koons opens on September 20, 2011 and runs through January 8, 2012.

Boasting works by 135 artists, this captivating exhibition is drawn from the holdings of a host of noted collectors, artists, and artist estates. A former radio and television journalist, French Venet first became fascinated with artist-made jewelry when her-then-beau sculptor Bernar Venet rolled a thin piece of silver around her finger to form a wedding ring. (Bernar Venet’s monumental sculptures are currently on exhibit through the fall in the gardens of Versailles.) Since then, she has acquired jewels made by her husband’s confreres, a group that has included Arman, César, Mimmo Rotella, and Villéglé, and she has commissioned pieces by Kader Attia, John Chamberlain, Wim Delvoye, Orlan, and Frank Stella. “I’m careful to ask only those artists whom I think will find the request challenging and fun,” says Venet. “It’s important they recognize that the jewel should be seen as an extension of their art-making.”

“We are thrilled to present a jewelry exhibition like this one, which in addition to being so visually engaging, reveals the more personal side of so many great artists,” says Holly Hotchner, MAD’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “As the only museum in the country with a collection of contemporary art jewelry on permanent display, we take our role as an exhibitor of innovative and richly imaginative jewelry seriously. For us, it’s another tool in our mission to break down what we see as the false hierarchies dividing the various realms of material creation: art, design, and craft.”While many of these wearable sculptures are crafted out of precious materials, what makes them so compelling is the beauty and candor of the artistic expression. Often conceived for a lover or a cherished family member or friend, a number of these pieces reveal a surprising tenderness or whimsy. The wearable sculptures will be presented in three groupings— the Early Masters, Representational, and Abstraction—with sections devoted to the human figure, nature, Pop subjects, words, geometry, and new technologies and materials.

Picasso to Koons: Artist as Jeweler will be accompanied by a fully illustrated, 240-page catalogue, with essays by Adrien Goetz and Barbara Rose, published by Flammarion/Rizzoli.


The Museum of Arts and Design explores the blur zone between art, design, and craft today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the artisanal to digital. The Museum’s exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. MAD’s permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum’s mission is education. The Museum’s dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum’s collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft, and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.


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