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Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection
May 13–August 31, 2014

Exhibition Location: Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for Modern and Contemporary Art Design and Architecture, Gallery 909 
Press Viewing: Monday, May 19, 10 a.m.–noon


Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection, on view from May 13 through August 31, 2014, will provide a close look at more than 80 pieces that came to The Metropolitan Museum of Art through a significant 2007 gift of over 130 works from collector Donna Schneier. The pieces—designed by some 88 artists from 17 countries—date from the 1960s to the present and include modern master jewelers such as Thomas Gentille, William Harper, Mary Lee Hu, Hermann Junger, Gijs Bakker, and Peter Chang, as well as avant-garde jewelry makers Robert Baines, Ted Noten, and Lola Brooks, all of whom have contributed to the creative revolution in contemporary jewelry design.

In the counterculture environment of the 1960s, a dramatic shift occurred in Europe that changed the art world’s perception of jewelry and ornament. Jewelry makers broke tradition by questioning the use of precious materials and art jewelry entered a phase of critical introspection and material exploration on an international scale. The postwar economic boom and new educational opportunities ignited the field’s transformation.

Donna’s Schneier’s approach to collecting jewelry has been based on documenting the central figures and works from this adventurous era. She began by collecting post-World War II international jewelry in the mid-1980s, beginning with pieces by artists such as Robert Ebendorf and Otto Kunzli and since then has continued to collect museum-quality works. 

Highlights of the exhibition include an ebony and eggshell brooch by Thomas Gentille; Karl Fritsch’s raw diamond and oxidized silver ring; and several pieces added recently to the collection, including works by David Bielander who mixes copper anodized silver and elastic polymer, and Attai Chen, who makes jewelry from paper, linen, coal, and paint.

Exhibition Credits
Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection is organized by the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition curator is Jane Adlin, Associate Curator in the department.

Related Catalogue and Programs
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published by the Metropolitan Museum featuring 150 photographs of pieces from the collection. It includes an essay by jewelry historian Suzanne Ramljak. 

The catalogue is made possible in part by the Dobkin Family Foundation, the Gorelick Family, the Rotasa Foundation, the Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation, Inc., and friends of Donna Schneier.

Education programs include exhibition tours and a studio workshop.

The exhibition will be featured on the Museum’s website at www.metmuseum.org

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May 13, 2014

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