Whimsical Jewelry at Katonah Museum of Art Expands the Boundaries of Body Ornamentation

Through January 27, Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) reinterprets the traditional boundaries of body ornamentation during its exhibition, Outrageous Ornament: Extreme Jewelry in the 21st Century.  Curated by the former curator of modern and contemporary design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jane Adlin, the show features 50 provocative pieces by artists, jewelers, architects and designers, all of which defy typical expectations of personal adornment.

Renowned contemporary artists, such as John Baldessari, construct works that were designed to be worn on the body. One of Baldessari’s pieces consists of a shoulder-perching bluebird with diamond eyes. Works like Marjorie Schick’s neckpiece and Ted Noten’s acrylic handbag question whether jewelry is defined by its wearability. Several artists, including Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, explore the relationship between adornment and the human body, as well as how these pieces play with the human form. In an avant-garde garment by Van Herpen, umbrella ribs and cow leather are transformed into a golden vest and skirt with protruding fan-like shapes.

KMA will host a diverse program of events related to Outrageous Ornament, including a private tour of galleries, designers and jewelry studios in the Hudson Valley on December 1. An artist-led “Victorian Hair Jewelry” workshop for adults will be held on January 12. Throughout the exhibition, visitors can participate in the hands-on design lab, “Design Studio: Wear Your Art,” in the KMA Learning Center. On January 25, “Stroller Tours,” “Senior Socials” and “Imagine it! After School” programs will offer tours of the exhibition along with activities for all ages. For more info, visit katonahmuseum.org.

A version of this article first appeared in the December/January issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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