Museum of Art & Design’s 2019 LOOT: MAD About Jewelry Opening Night Benefit

Alina Alamorean and her jewelry
Event photos by Marilyn Kirschner

Jewelry enthusiasts convened upon the Museum of Art and Design on Monday in celebration of the LOOT 2019 Opening Benefit. The evening’s events included first access for patrons to meet the 2019 LOOT artists (innovative creators all) and acquire their designs, a cocktail hour and reception, as well as a dinner honoring the 2019 LOOT Award recipients. Each year, the LOOT Award is presented to luminaries in the field of jewelry, including artists, collectors, and designers. This annual prize is in keeping with the long-standing commitment of the Museum of Arts and Design to presenting jewelry as an art form.

This year’s honorees were artist, sculptor, jewelry designer Adria de Haume and fashion designer Josie Natori. The evening was made possible by Paolo Castagli. Proceeds from LOOT: MAD about Jewelry benefit the Museum’s exhibitions and education programs.

Joo Hyung Park

It was also during the dinner that the winner of the 4th LOOT Acquisition Prize was named. The 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.” This is the third year in a row that there were two winners. Joo Hyung Park from South Korea works in wood. Each piece is unique; as she carves, two patterns emerge.

Mariko Kusumoto

Mariko Kusumoto who was born in Japan and is now based in Massachusetts prevails upon fabric to construct forms of elegant simplicity and evocative imagery. Her designs are incorporated into jewelry and sculptural pieces, as well as in collaborations with fashion designers; in January 2019, her work appeared on the Jean Paul Gaultier catwalk at Paris Haute Couture.

Bryna Pomp curator of Loot Mad-About-Jewelry

The Co-Chairs of the event were Joan Hornig, Marsy Mittlemann, Barbara Tober and Bryna Pomp, who has been the curator for the past 9 years. Bryna has spent her whole career in the field of jewelry and travels the globe in search of the most amazing artists who create the best in design and craftsmanship. No wonder this event has become known as THE ultimate 5 days pop up shop for contemporary artist-made jewelry representing over 55 emerging and acclaimed international jewelry artists from 18 countries and territories. The majority of those participating will be presenting in New York for the first time. It is truly like a jewelry “League of Nations” right here on Columbus Circle.

Karen Rotenberg

Many of the patrons and invited guests used the theme of the Opening Night Benefit as an excellent excuse to make their own exuberant statements, whether through their choice of accessories, or their clothing, or both. Philanthropist and last year’s honoree Karen Rotenberg wore a piece by Mariko Kusumoto to add an Avant-garde touch to her chic black suit.

Suzanne Golden

Suzanne Golden (, who designs her own eponymous line of bold, playful jewelry in primary colors made of beads, was exuberantly dressed head to toe in Comme des Garcons. She wore an eye-catching bracelet by Francesca Vitali, one of the evening’s exhibitors. Ms. Vitali transforms paper into precious objects and unique modern designs.

Mariquita Masterson

Fun fact: Houston based designer Mariquita Masterson creates unique and vivid handmade glass pieces set in silver and vermeil. Included in her assortment on display was a red and blue necklace that has an interesting back story, to say the least.

Nancy Pelosi wearing Mariquita Masterson’s necklace

Nancy Pelosi used the same one to accessorize the white pantsuit she wore when she famously made her debut as speaker of the house at the 2019 State of the Union Address.

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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