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Jewelry of Ideas

Lovely awning detail at the entrance to the Cooper Hewitt.

About 4 years ago when I returned from a study abroad program in the UK, I realized that part of what made that trip such an amazing experience was the fact that where ever we went, we found jewelry to look at. In galleries, museums, schools and artist studios. I missed that and, upon my return, suddenly realized that it didn’t take a lot of effort to continue that experience here in my own country.  Since then, I’ve tried to make an effort that whenever I travel, I look for museum exhibits and galleries that feature art jewelry, innovative craft and opportunities to connect with other jewelry artists.

The Cooper Hewitt, the design museum of the Smithsonian is close by in New York City and has had an impressive art jewelry exhibit up since November. Jewelry of Ideasis an exhibit with pieces from a recent gift of Susan Grant Lewin. The museum held a symposium around the opening, recorded the proceedings and posted the video online linked from the Cooper Hewitt’s website. I watched much of the content previously and I didn’t want to miss it before it closes the end of this month. I took my Mother’s Day “off” and took a drive with my husband and kid to a drizzly Fifth Avenue to check it out.

Doug Bucci’s work based on his body’s blood glucose data was already familiar to me since he was one of my professors at Tyler School of Art, but what fun it was to see it featured super large on the gallery wall.
Several pieces from the Padua school of jewelry. I had come across the multicolored pieces from Francesco Pavan before, but this was the first time I saw one in person.

I was delighted with the content, but disappointed in the lighting. Normally in my museum visits, I love to take multiple photos of pieces so I can reference them later, but I forgot my good lens for low light. It was just as well since it gave me a good reason to pick up the exhibit catalog.

The rest of the Cooper Hewitt was engrossing as well. Exhibits about color, models of staircases and the senses were immersive. But it was the first floor with its exhibit Access + Abilityon accessible design and the products on display in Bob Greenberg Selectsthat brought my thoughts back to my friend Jack. He was a camera enthusiast who suffered a stroke and was severely disabled for the last 7 years of his life. As his caregiver, I was constantly in search of new products to help him with daily living. He would have enjoyed both of these exhibits.

SX-70 Polaroid on display at the Cooper Hewitt inBob Greenberg Presents. I’m sure I had one of these and I’m also sure that my friend Jack had several.
Many thoughts of Jack going through this exhibit about adpative design at the Cooper Hewitt. This suit can assist movement.