April ‘MAD’ness

The Museum of Arts and Design LOOT: MAD About Jewelry

Marilyn Kirschner & Zandra Rhodes
Photo: Laurel Marcus
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Sports lovers may have March Madness, but jewelry enthusiasts and collectors have LOOT: MAD About Jewelry, The Museum of Arts and Design’s annual and wildly popular exhibition and sale. Now in its 17th edition, it runs from April 4 – 8 and has become known as THE ultimate 5 day pop up shop for contemporary artist-made jewelry representing more than 54 emerging and acclaimed international jewelry artists from 21 countries. It’s like a jewelry “League of Nations” right here on Columbus Circle.

Each year, the LOOT Award is presented to luminaries in the field of jewelry, including artists, collectors, and designers. This year’s honorees are estate jeweler Camilla Dietz Bergeron, SAME SKY founder Francine LeFrak and jewelry designer and UNLEASHED founder Kara Ross.

Marsy Mittlemann on the right wearing a necklace by Inbar Shahak with the designer
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Last night they were feted at a spirited Benefit Dinner held at Robert, the museum’s wonderful top floor restaurant. Honorary Chair Dame Zandra Rhodes flew in from London to be there. The iconic fashion designer is not only a huge fan of the museum, but a self-professed jewelry enthusiast who understands the impact great accessories make. As she put it, “jewelry makes the outfit”. “It’s an art form that you can wear”. This jives well with the museum’s long standing commitment to present jewelry as an art form. For the occasion she chose a fabulous necklace, brooch, and cuff she had made in India. Even her bright pink hair could be considered an accessory!

Ute van der Plaats
Photos Marilyn Kirschner

It was during the dinner that the winner of the second LOOT Acquisition Prize was named. This honor is in recognition of a LOOT jewelry artist “whose work reflects a maturity in artistry and concept, exhibits superior and experimental understanding of materials and form, and demonstrates expertise in technique and execution”. Actually, there were two winners this year: German born, Brussels based Ute van der Plaats who uses porcelain as the starting point for her graphic ceramic jewelry, and Korean born Suyoung Kim who finds inspiration in the world of plants and delights in the surprising properties she creates for her metal plate jewelry.

Bryna Pomp and Raluca Buzura
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

The dinner was preceded by a press preview (during which time remarks were made by Dame Zandra Rhodes, LOOT curator Bryna Pomp, and LOOT Chair Marsy Mittlemann), cocktail party, reception, preview, and sale of the one of a kind artist made jewelry on the 3rd floor. Many of the patrons and invited guests used the theme of the Opening Night Benefit as a good excuse to break out their own statement making accessories. I never need an excuse to wear my silver 60’s Givenchy space age necklace which looks even more perfect right now because so many designers have tapped into a mod space age vibe for their fall 2017 collections.

Helen Drutt English wearing her Wendy Ramshaw Orbit necklace
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Among those who stood out in the crowd: Helen Drutt English, the celebrated collector of art to wear jewelry opted for Wendy Ramshaw’s Orbit necklace; curator Bryna Pomp selected Raluca Buzura’s porcelain and gold necklace; Eteri Chkadua arrived wearing a whimsical rubber necklace of her own design.

Marjorie Reed Gordon and Denise Bradley Tyson
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Marjorie Reed Gordon (who has a collection of bespoke leathers called www.Marjorelle.com) and Denise Bradley-Tyson here from San Francisco (she is CEO and founder of www.inspiredluxe.com which specializes in handcrafted luxury from around the globe), both wore tribal necklaces; and let’s not forget Iris Apfel and Daphne Guinness who always make a statement and never exactly fade into the woodwork lol.

But naturally, the “raison d’etre” of the evening and the main event are the artists and their jewelry. They all gifted and exceptional in their own way but these are some of the ones I was especially taken with:

Aino Faven with her recycled plastic and plastic bag jewelry
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Aino Faven’s (Finland) recycled plastic and plastic bag jewelry which serves as memorial garlands for birds and other animals that have died from eating plastic waste.

Katrin Zimmermann
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Katrin Zimmermann’s progressive, architectural, minimalist, and modern sterling silver and acrylic art jewelry (the German native has a studio in Harlem and is a professor at Pratt Institute).

Michelle Cangiano with her paper disc jewelry
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Michelle Cangiano’s (Australia) “Paper Cuts” jewelry made of knotted paper discs.

Marianne Batlle with her brooches
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Marianne Batlle’s (Spain) beaded brooches depicting fashion icons, movie stars, artists, and designers.

Gerda and Nikolai Monies
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Gerda and Nikolai Monies (Denmark) dramatic, oversized distinctive jewelry made of bone, horn, stone, or other natural material.

Sowon Joo
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Sowon Joo (Korea) uses her craft to create “fairytales for grownups”.

Abigail Brown
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Abigail Brown’s (UK) sculptural and contemporary designs in silver (her theme is “Body as Landscape”).

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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