At the 1942 opening of her show “Art of This Century,” modern art doyenne Peggy Guggenheim swanned into her West 57th Street gallery-museum wearing mismatched earrings that declared her generous aesthetic tastes—one bauble designed by Alexander Calder and the other by Yves Tanguy, signifying her affinity for both abstraction and surrealism.
Seventy-five years later, a new array of objets-d’art will debut on April 20 in Hauser & Wirth’s “Portable Art Project,” conceived of by collector Celia Forner. The wearable works include artist-designed rings, necklaces, earrings, and cuffs by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, John Baldessari, Paul McCarthy, Pipilotti Rist, and Phyllida Barlow. The show includes both unique and editioned works, ranging in price from $15,000 to $120,000. A commissioned series of photographs accompanies the show featuring actress Rossy de Palma and photographed by Gorka Postigo.
Drawing on the history of visual artists venturing into design—often relegated to secondary status—Forner has selected works that expand on the relationship between the wearer’s body and the artwork adorning it. Some of pieces are attention-grabbing curios John Baldessari‘s contributions include an 18-karat yellow-gold earring in the shape of a nose, a diamond-eyed bluebird meant to alight upon your shoulder, and the aptly named “Crowd Arm” bands with long pointed spears coming out the elbows—perfect for rush hour on the Metro.
Other artists have drawn a more direct line between their jewelry and their larger-scale pieces. Phyllida Barlow—representing the UK at the upcoming Venice Biennale—contributed miniaturized versions of her recycled-fabric sculptures, while Caro Niederer’s bracelets dangle with tiny photographs of the artist’s home, recent travels, and studio. For those seeking a more understated look, Paul McCarthy casts his butt plugs into delicate rose-gold pendants.
“Portable Art: A Project by Celia Forner” will be on view from April 20 to June 17.
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