Exhibitions: From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Wild Man Mask

This mask represents Bak’was, a malevolent, ghostly spirit and the keeper of drowned souls in Kwakwaka&rsq...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Relief with Netherworld Deities

    This relief from the tomb of Yepu, a high official, represents The Book of the Dead, Spell 145, in which the deceased approaches the fourth ...

    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    DIG_E2008_Modernist_Jewelry_of_Art_Smith_005_PS2.jpg DIG_E2008_Modernist_Jewelry_of_Art_Smith_004_PS2.jpg DIG_E2008_Modernist_Jewelry_of_Art_Smith_003_PS2.jpg DIG_E2008_Modernist_Jewelry_of_Art_Smith_002_PS2.jpg DIG_E2008_Modernist_Jewelry_of_Art_Smith_001_PS2.jpg DIG_E2008_Modernist_Jewelry_of_Art_Smith_006_PS2.jpg

    From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith

    • Dates: May 14, 2008 through June 11, 2011
    • Collections: Decorative Arts
    • Location: This exhibition is no longer on view in Decorative Arts Galleries, 4th Floor
    • Description: From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith. [05/14/2008 - 06/19/2011]. Installation view.
    • Citation: Brooklyn Museum. Digital Collections and Services (DIG_E_2008_Smith)
    • Source: born digital
    • Related Links: Main Exhibition Page
    Exhibition Didactics ?
    • From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith
      From the Village to Vogue celebrates the recent gift to the Brooklyn Museum of a collection of twenty-one examples of the work of one of America’s foremost modernist jewelers of the twentieth century, Arthur George Smith. Presented together with this gift are thirty pieces of modernist jewelry by other artists from the Museum’s permanent collection. All of these jewelers were deeply indebted to the famous American sculptor Alexander Calder and his kinetic, abstract, biomorphic designs. Like Calder, they eschewed traditional materials such as gold, platinum, and precious stones in favor of lesser materials such as copper, brass, aluminum, silver, ceramics, glass, and hard stones. They championed the handmade, and because few of them were formally trained, they tended to develop their techniques by trial and error. Their jewelry was an ornamental interpretation of contemporary art that integrated an awareness of the human form and the notion of wearability.

      Smith’s jewelry in particular is characterized by asymmetry, biomorphicism, compelling linearity, and, above all, a keen awareness of female anatomy. He had a sculptor’s sensitivity to the human form and the power of negative space. Born to Jamaican parents in Cuba in 1917 and raised in Brooklyn, Smith showed artistic talent at an early age. Encouraged to apply to art school, he received a scholarship to Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. There he was one of only a handful of black students, and his advisors tried to steer him into architecture, suggesting he might readily find a job in the civil sector of that profession. He abandoned this path, however, and turned to commercial art and a major in sculpture, training that would prove invaluable when he became a jeweler. In 1947 he opened his first store, on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village, then the bohemian center of New York City and a hotbed of modern art in general. Soon after, he moved to 140 West Fourth Street. By the mid-1950s Smith’s career was flourishing and he received feature pictorial coverage in both Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

      The jewelry by Smith on view here spans his entire career. Twenty pieces are made of silver, and one rare brooch is of gold. Because the artist usually worked in these relatively expensive materials only on commission, these designs are more widely known in copper and brass. Stylistically, they present a unified aesthetic; once Smith found his artistic voice, he exercised it with great imagination. As Smith had all of these pieces in his possession at the time of his death in 1982, they represent presumably the best and certainly the most costly examples of his work. The Museum is deeply indebted to Charles Russell, an intimate of the artist, for this generous donation.

      Barry R. Harwood, Curator of Decorative Arts

    advanced 110,591 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Recently Tagged Exhibitions

    Recent Comments

    "Hi Aimee, I think you mean Oreet Ashery? More information can be found in her profile on the Feminist Art Base: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/oreet_ashery.php?i=266"
    By shelley

    "Hi, I am trying to find the name of the artist who took and is in the photograph that follows- http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/exhibitions/664/Global_Feminisms_Remix/image/216/Global_Feminisms_Remix._%7C08032007_-_03032008%7C._Installation_view. I believe the artist takes pictures of herself dressed as a man but then exposes her femaleness, as in the photo of her dressed as an Ascetic Jew exposing her breast. Can you help me find her information? Thanks in advance- Aimee Record"
    By Aimee Record

    "For more information on Louis Schanker and the New York Art Scene of the mid 1900's go to http://www.LouisSchanker.info "
    By Lou Siegel

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.

    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
    This section utilizes the New York Times API in order to display related materials in New York Times publications.