This was the name of the exhibition at Smithsonian, Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum which was shown since February 18th, and had an extended run till today, July 4th.
And you guessed! I have developed this habit of going to see shows in their last few days, if not in their very last one!! After everything was written and read about the exhibitions, yet, I will have something to say in my blog...
So, where do we start?
With a tip, since everybody loves a good tip:
Never go to an exhibition in its last day! If that last day happen to be in New York City, on the 4th of July, and if the museum "gives back" a free pass to everybody because it's closing its doors till 2013 for major remodeling, you are simply setting yourself up for what is going to be a couple hundred people line, who, you bet, will stoically stand there on a 80+ Fahrenheit for hours, and change all their dinner plans they have previously made, because the restaurant is still going to be there tomorrow, while the exhibition, and even the museum will not!
Now, let's move on with my comments....I hardly know anything about jewelry, in general, unless is a small pair of earrings from Tiffany. But I know that real ones look fabulous and cost a lot of money. And being a naturalized American I find myself sometimes more impressed by the tag, then I should really be....Yeah, it comes with the territory!...
Rest assured, all this writing is not vain, here. I am building up an argument, and I've got a point, too (how familiar!).
The exhibition had $360+ pieces, spread around 4 rooms. Extraordinary pieces from VC&A's collection, archive and private collections.
Just as with couture dresses, when you look at a real piece up-close, you are amazed by the finesse and the craftsmanship which went into that piece. But also, just like with anything genuine there is nothing flashy. If you thought I went to look to a bunch of flashy, over the top jewelry, you are wrong. As I said, just like anything authentic (this truly applies to everything authentic, in life) there is something natural, organic about it. It doesn't scream at you, it's just perfectly proportioned, perfectly colored, behaves perfectly in any kind of light, and probably on almost any outfit. It's powerful, yet has a subdued whisper. Has luster but it lacks what it takes to call it "a bling".
The very last two pieces you could see before exiting back into the hallway, were The Lamartine set, bracelet and matching earnings, owned by Dame Elizabeth Taylor :
Is it simply random that the exhibition ends with Lamartine? I asked myself. Not at all. Curators rarely do anything random, if ever! That was the actual conclusion of the exhibition. It was their "punch line". It tells us, that with all the spark, the money, the craft, the gems, the technology, we still love a good story; and always the the same "old story of love and glory". And it is what gives the ultimate value to any lifeless object....
From the dark, wood paneled exhibition's rooms at Cooper Hewitt, I walked out on a a bright, hot summer day, on 5th Avenue, and instead of thinking of all those fabulous gems, which I might possibly had just seen it as once-in-a-life-time-deal, I found myself thinking of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. I was thinking of their life stories, their ups, their downs, their addictions, their fights, his fabulous presents, her survival, and ultimately, above all, of their love story. And came to understood that yes, indeed, a good story, is what we still value most, above and beyond anything else. That's what sells! Would we have been so impressed with a private jewelry collection amassed by a dull person, maybe as a gift from a secret lover, a.k.a. provider, a.k.a. "friend with benefits", or simply through tricky life games? Most likely not. Would have been just another piece out of the 360+ other displayed at the show, without a story attached to it, to enhance its beauty, its appeal, and ultimately its value. Was the Lamartine set the most beautiful? Not, in my opinion, but it sure carried the heaviest "weight" because of its most fascinating story, closing a string of jewelry who belonged to the likes of Jacklyn Kenedy-Onassis, Maria Callas, Greta Garbo, Grace of Monaco, etc. And that's precisely why those two pieces closed the show.
P.S. Christie's have announced on June 29th that the Elizabeth Taylor Auction will be held in NYC, on December 13th & 14th , 2011 at Christie's Rockefeller Center. Prior to the sale will be a "ten days museum-quality exhibition of her jewelry, fashion, accessories, decorative arts and memorabilia". And Lamartine will be there.... hopefully for another life story...
Other posts you might like:
-"Vivienne Westwood 1980-89" click here
-"Stuff" click here
-"MET Theraphy" click here
-"For the love of the MET and the other MET..."click here
-"Bill Cunningham New York" click here
-"Channeling Bill Cunningham, 2 years ago" click here
-"J.P. Morgan - the man and his books @ Morgan Museum" click here