Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound and Bent, Cast & Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia at Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), May 3 – September 25, 2016

Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound: “In the 1960s, Bertoia began exploring the potential relationship between sculpture and sound, and eventually created a significant oeuvre that would crown his life’s work. Upon discovering the range of tones possible when pieces of wire or metal rods strike one another, Bertoia spent two decades crafting hundreds of “sounding sculptures” in pursuit of a simple instrument. These sculptures are interactive, kinetic, and audible forms consisting of bundles of metal rods that collide and set off radiant tones when activated by wind or human touch.” — MAD

Speaking of the sounding sculptures in a 1972 interview with Paul Cummings, Bertoia said, “We are confronted with this puzzle of … a sculptural element breaking the silence, it has a voice, hence we listen to it, maybe there is something to say.”

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Installation view of ‘Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound.’ Photo by Butcher Walsh. Front: Bertoia “Diamond” chair, 1952, Knoll furniture company

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Installation view of ‘Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound.’ Photo by Butcher Walsh.

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Installation view of ‘Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound.’ Photo by Butcher Walsh.

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Harry Bertoia Recording of and notes on La Serenita, 1971. Photo by John Brien.

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Bertoia barn, Pennsylvania, c. 2015. Photo by John Brien.

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Bertoia barn, Pennsylvania, c. 2015. Photo by John Brien.

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Bertoia barn, Pennsylvania, c. 2015. Photo by John Brien.

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Harry Bertoia (b. Italy 1915, d. United States 1978). The artist manipulating the tops of rods shaped like cattails, using individual fingers to move specific rods, to create a complex sound,  1975. Bertoia Barn Barto, PA.

“Bent, Cast & Forged: The Jewelry of Harry Bertoia displays Bertoia’s jewelry and explores his investigations of form and material during his early days as an artist and designer at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His initial experimentations with metal began with small pieces of jewelry. For Bertoia, jewelry making was a process of creative discovery, an exploration of material on a manageable scale, and an avenue of inquiry for his conceptual interests. Inspired by the artistic theories emanating from Europe’s avant-garde, he was particularly fascinated by the vital forces of nature and its cycle of growth and decay.” — MAD

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Brooch, circa 1945. Forged and fabricated sterling silver, 3 1/8 × 1 1/8 × 5/8 in. (7.9 × 2.9 × 1.6 cm). Collection of Kim and Al Eiber. Photograph courtesy of Wright Auction House.

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Brooch, circa 1946. Forged and riveted silver, 4 1/4 × 2 1/2 × 3/8 in. (10.8 × 6.4 × 1 cm). Private Collection. Photograph by Dwayne Resnick, Courtesy of Mark McDonald.

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“Fishbone” Pendant, circa 1940s. Forged and riveted sterling silver, 4 1/2 × 2 1/2 × 5/8 in. (11.4 × 6.4 × 1.6 cm). Courtesy of Leah Gordon Antiques. Photograph by Richard Goodbody.

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“Gong” Pendant, circa 1960s. Forged sterling silver, 4 × 4 × 1/8 in. (10.2 × 10.2 × 0.3 cm). Courtesy of Leah Gordon Antiques. Photograph by Richard Goodbody.

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Brooch, circa 1947. Forged and cold connected sterling silver, 4 5/8 × 2 7/8 × 1/8 in. (11.7 × 7.3 × 0.3 cm). Collection of Kim and Al Eiber. Photograph courtesy of Kim and Al Eiber.

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Ornamental Centipede, circa 1942. Articulated brass with forged elements and rivets, 19 3/4 × 8 × 1/2 in. (50.2 × 20.3 × 1.3 cm). Gift of George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth through The Cranbrook Foundation CAM 1943.12. Photograph by R. H. Hensleigh and Tim Thayer.

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Necklace, circa 1942–1943. Articulated brass with forged elements and rivets Choker: 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm), circumference Pendants: 3 1/2 × 2 1/4 × 1/8 in. (8.9 × 5.7 × 0.3 cm), each (approximate). Collection of Cranbrook Art Museum Gift of Dorothy Dunitz in memory of Saul Dunitz CAM 2009.176. Photograph by R. H. Hensleigh.

LojaSaarinenNecklace

Necklace, circa 1943. Forged and fabricated gold Chain: 9 in. (22.9 cm) Pendants: 1 3/4 × 1 1/8 × 1/16 in. (4.4 × 2.9 × 0.2 cm), each. Collection of Kim and Al Eiber. Photograph by Tim Thayer and R. H. Hensleigh.

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Untitled Monotype (Non-Objective Polychrome Block Print), circa 1943. Ink on Japanese-style paper, 7 5/8 × 10 in. (19.4 × 25.4 cm). Collection of Cranbrook Art Museum. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Irving F. Burton ZO 1981.28. Photograph by R. H. Hensleigh.

Images courtesy Museum of Arts and Design