Surface or Substance? Jewelry as Adornment and Power
Published at : 13 Dec 2020
The human desire to embellish and ornament is timeless. Over the course of millennia, it has been chronicled and critiqued, lauded and lambasted. Jewelry is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of this desire. But does our cross-cultural fascination with jewelry represent simply a superficial fancy for adorning ourselves, or can this impulse to ornament our bodies mean something more? This panel addresses jewelry’s multiple functions across cultures and over time; its participants – hailing from various professions and cultural perspectives – discuss jewelry’s deeper meanings: from symbols of political power and spiritual significance, to souvenirs of friendship and love – or even agents of provocation.
Navina Haidar, Curator, Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Freyja Hartzell, Assistant Professor, Bard Graduate Center
Jonathan Wahl, Jewelry Artist and Director, Jewelry Center, 92nd Street Y
Beth Wees, Curator, American Decorative Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ulysses Dietz, Curator, Decorative Arts, Newark Art Museum