NEW YORK — Cuff links made from papier mâché, lapel pins created out of glass, and artisan jewelry constructed from materials ranging from goose feathers to sequins will be center stage at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City starting on Monday.
The 16th annual “LOOT: MAD About Jewelry” annual exhibition and sale starts with a benefit viewing and dinner that night and runs through April 16.
“LOOT has grown to be one of MAD’s most popular, best attended annual events,” said Michele Cohen, the exhibit’s chair for the seventh year. “It provides an unparalleled opportunity for the public to acquire pieces directly from the best emerging and established artists in contemporary art jewelry today.”
This year’s edition will feature 44 artists from 17 countries — Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (for the first time), the United Kingdom and the United States.
The artists were chosen by curator Bryna Pomp, who got her start in the Federated Department Stores training program and has spent her entire 35-year career in the jewelry business. After serving on the LOOT committee for a year, Pomp has been the curator for six years. “I had a different vision of what it could be,” she said. “And it has truly become the premier venue for the public to see and purchase studio art of this caliber.”
Pomp said that there’s “very little opportunity in America for people to see this type of jewelry.”
She said she looked at 5,000 artists before narrowing the list down to the 50 who were invited to participate in the show. All of the artists will be in New York at the museum for the run of the exhibit, meeting with the public. And one artist team, Anne Sophie Baillet and Matthias Lavaux from Atelier Paulin in Paris, will custom-make bracelets and fibula brooches on-site during the run of LOOT.
Pomp said her criteria for choosing the participants are threefold: material, design and craftsmanship. “I love to present the greatest breadth of materials,” she said, noting that this year, these include concrete, wool, glass, wood, porcelain, silicone and steel mesh.
“Then I look for excellence in translating those materials into design, and the craftsmanship has to be excellent.”
Highlights of this year’s show include Italy’s Myriam Bottazzi, who uses yarns, fabrics, sequins, rough semiprecious stones, metals, feathers and other elements of nature in her designs; Englishwoman Alice Clarke, who employs the Yorkshire countryside and its goose feathers and sheep’s wool in her pieces, and architect and urban designer Elena Kapompasopoulou, who creates designs out of concrete.
Men’s jewelry continues to gain in importance, Pomp said, and includes Jed Green’s hand-painted glass lapel pins and Gian Luca Bartellone’s papier mâché cuff links. “There is more men’s this year than ever before,” she said.
All of the jewelry will be sold at a pop-up shop at the museum’s 2 Columbus Circle headquarters. Proceeds from the sale benefit the museum’s exhibition and education programs.
Pomp said MAD is the only museum in America with a permanent jewelry gallery devoted to contemporary and modern designs. “So in support of this commitment to jewelry, we felt we wanted to make it accessible to the public and heighten awareness,” Pomp said.
This year’s benefit will honor jewelry designer and arts patron Joan Hornig as well as fashion designer and philanthropist Kay Unger.