Outrageous Ornament: Extreme Jewelry in the 21st Century at Katonah Museum of Art, through January 27, 2019

“Jewelry in one form or another has been around since the beginning of time.  From prehistoric evidence of decorating the body with ornamental symbols made of found materials such as shells and bones and the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman use of newly discovered glass to the vibrant, multicolored, carved stone and gem-set gold ornaments of Renaissance Europe, jewelry announced a sense of identity and confirmed the status of the wearer.  Most recently, and especially since the turn of the 21st century, new, very bold, sometimes startling, and often outrageous ‘jewels’ have extended beyond our cultural expectations of personal adornment. The traditional boundaries that have for so many centuries defined body ornaments are reimagined – makers rethink it, remake it, ponder its place in history, and expand our definition of jewelry. This exhibition presents fifty examples of the most striking work being created today. The show features the work of Iris van Herpen from the fashion world, Joyce Scott, Jennifer Trask and Robert Baines – jewelers who use traditional materials in new ways, conceptualist Ted Noten, photographer Lauren Kalman, and Jonathan Wahl, artist, designer, and teacher, among many more international makers.” — Katonah Museum of Art

Robert Baines (Australian, born 1949). Yellow Giraffe bracelet, ca. 2012. Silver, powdercoat, electroplate, paint. 3 15/16 x 4 3/8 x 3 9/16 inches. Courtesy of Gallery Loupe

Gijs Bakker (Dutch, born 1942). Dewdrop neckpiece, 1982. Photo print, PVC, gilded brass. 19 ½ x 21 5/8 x 1/16 inches. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Helen Williams Drutt Collection, museum purchase funded by the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Family Foundation with love and in memory of Leah Grossberg, 2002.3591

John Baldessari (American, born 1931). Mr. Bluebird on My Shoulder (with Diamonds), 2013. Enameled silver, diamonds, metal, suede. 3 7/8 x 2 ½ x 3 7/8 inches. Private collection. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York, and Marian Goodman Gallery

Naama Bergman (Israeli, born 1982, lives and works in Germany). Salt Necklace 10, 2018 Iron, salt Pendant. 1 3/16 x 6 7/8 x 5 1/8 inches, Chain 17 5/16 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Loupe

Daniel Jocz (American, born 1943). Pot Shots neckpiece from “An American’s Riff on the Millstone Ruff”, 2007. Formed aluminum, air brushed auto body lacquer, chromed copper and photograph on aluminum panel neckpiece. 12 x 25 ½ x 18 inches, photograph 36 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist

Lauren Kalman (American, born 1980). Lip Adornment from the series Hard Wear, 2006. Inkjet print, 23 x 35 inches. Courtesy of Sienna Patti

Ted Noten (Dutch, born 1956). Bitch Bag (Icepick Bag), 2005. Acrylic, ice pick, ring, cocaine, found handbag handle. 8 x 7 5/8 x 2 inches. Collection of Marion Fulk

Marjorie Schick (American, 1941-2017). Spiraling Over the Line, 2008. Canvas, paint, wood, copper alloy. 44 inches diameter. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri (The collection of Marjorie Schick) 2017.80.2

Joyce Scott (American, born 1948). The Sneak necklace, 1989. Beads and thread, 13 ½ x 11 x 2 ¼ inches. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Helen Williams Drutt Collection, museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Foundation, 2002.4077

Jennifer Trask (American, born 1970). Volute neckpiece, 2013. Antique frame, antler, 23k gold leaf. 14 x 16 x 4 inches. Private collection

Jennifer Trask (American, born 1970). Encroachment, 2013. Wood, gold leaf, gesso, antique frame fragments, bone, antler, calcium carbonate, druzy quartz, teeth, resin, mica. 32 x 24 x 7 inches. Courtesy of Gallery Loupe

Iris van Herpen (Dutch, born 1984). Chemical Crows, Skirt, Collar, 2008. Umbrella ribs, boat filament, yarn, leather, metal. 60 x 40 x 15 ¾ inches. Iris van Herpen Studio

Michael Gitlitz, KMA’s executive director remarks, “Even though Grace Kelly noted that, ‘A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls,’ the desire for ornament has been central to both men and women since the dawn of civilization. Ornamentation and jewelry have always served as one of the most important aspects of human expression and Jane Adlin has curated an extraordinary exhibition presenting the most innovative and sophisticated practitioners of this artistic form.”

Outrageous Ornament is organized by Jane Adlin, former curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum, who is currently working on independent, international projects on wide-ranging topics about contemporary architecture and design.

Images courtesy Katonah Museum of Art.