For the Home: Animal Kingdom
Big cats come in from the wild, embellishing covetable objets for the home.
A landscape accented with diamonds and black pearls, US$16,500; a cavalry scene with mismatched stone studs, US$15,180; both available at bergdorfgoodman.com.
Feeling for: Mini Masterpieces
Last year, on an outing to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brazilian fine jewellery designer Silvia Furmanovich found herself marveling at 100 or so miniature paintings — intricate scenes commissioned by India’s Rajput rulers, depicting lush landscapes, limb-tangled battles and euphoric love scenes. Later, Furmanovich stepped back into these dreamscapes on a 40-day trip through India during which she commissioned artisans at a school in Udaipur to create unique pieces on scalloped, diamond-shaped chips of wood and bone. She then framed the works — painted with brushes made from the hair of squirrels’ tails — with diamonds, gemstones and South Sea pearls, turning them into earrings that give refined meaning to the term ‘‘wearable art.’’
Gallery ©Judy Chicago/Photo: ©Donald Woodman
Judy Chicago’s ‘‘Childhood’s End #1,’’ 1972. Below: ‘‘Cat Gazing Into Mirror,’’ 2004.
In Art: A Heroine’s Journey
We’re ‘‘ready for a different narrative about women,’’ says the artist Judy Chicago, fresh off seeing the summer blockbuster ‘‘Wonder Woman.’’ Chicago — who, after taking her hometown’s name partly as a symbolic rebuke of the patriarchy, famously posed as a boxer in the ring for a 1970 Artforum ad — knows a thing or two about the politics of representation. Now, at 78, she’s soon to be the subject of a number of important shows. The first, ‘‘Judy Chicago’s Pussies,’’ opens next month at Jessica Silverman in San Francisco and features both well-known and never-before-seen drawings, paintings and prints made between 1964 and 2004. Some works, like ‘‘Through the Flower,’’ are geometric abstractions, while others are more anatomical. (There are also watercolours of her actual cats.)
Then there’s Chicago’s masterpiece, ‘‘The Dinner Party,’’ which the artist revealed nearly 40 years ago at SFMoMA. The piece, a reimagining of the Last Supper with painted-vulva plates and seats reserved for famous women, from Sappho to Sojourner Truth, is now installed at the Brooklyn Museum. (It even made a cameo on this season’s ‘‘Master of None.’’) In October, the museum will open a separate exhibition analysing the work’s conceptual origins and influences. A concurrent show at Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of Women in the Arts will focus on the collaborative studio environment in which the project evolved (it involved a team of hundreds), but it’s really just a prelude to Chicago’s forthcoming 2019 show there, ‘‘The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction.’’ Next spring, meanwhile, Salon 94 in NYC will exhibit Chicago’s 1980s paintings of cartoonish male nudes wrestling with rainbows. In both its breadth and depth, this surge of attention is long overdue. But perhaps, as Chicago says, we’re finally ready.
Bea De Giacomo
A Very Elizabeth Taylor Design
For her 40th birthday in 1972, Elizabeth Taylor received a Bulgari sautoir from her husband, Richard Burton, who tended to express his passion in carats. It featured a detachable octagonal brooch-cum-pendant with pavé and bullet-cut diamonds set in platinum, and a Burmese sugarloaf sapphire so large it’s a wonder Taylor was able to remain upright while wearing it. (Bulgari, Burton once famously quipped — in a tone one hopes was fond — was all the Italian Taylor knew.) Now, the company has reinterpreted that iconic bijou for modern times. With a peach-pit-size cabochon emerald centered in a dangling frame, the necklace’s contemporary geometry is complemented by an intricate, diamond-bejewelled chain. Taylor herself once remarked that you can’t truly possess radiance, only admire it. But, she might have added, it’s always nice to try.
Stark Stem Holders
For his 2014 series of photographs, ‘‘Postures,’’ the Swedish artist Carl Kleiner used brass-wire posts to manipulate the long, willowy stems of tulips, freezing them in poses of melancholy, human-like repose. This year, in collaboration with Bloc Studios, a design group in Carrara, Italy, that specialises in the local stone, Kleiner and his wife, Evelina, have debuted a collection of vases with a similar armature. With an emphasis on stark form, the vessels — which come in several shapes and stones, from green onyx to white marble — force a reconsideration of the flowers they contain, shifting the focus from their colour or scent to the fragile beauty of their structure.
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