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Museum of Art and Design

2013 October 16

On Monday, because I was lucky enough to have the day off from work, I met up with my friend Raquel, who was visiting the city for the day, and we headed to the Museum of Art and Design in Columbus Circle.  Honestly, though I’ve lived here for over 3 years and have frequented my share of museums, I had never heard of MAD until Joe’s aunt was in town, and visited the costume jewelry exhibit that’s currently on display. Since both Raquel and I share a fondness for gems, I knew it would be the perfect way to spend an afternoon.


 I was right! The exhibit, which displays the personal collection of Barbara Berger, was fantastic–bold, colorful, and beautiful. It features designs of every shape, color, and material you could want, by designers are varied as Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, and Yves Saint Laurent.

 Many of the featured necklaces distinctly reminded me of a lot of the statement necklaces being sold at J. Crew and other retailers now.

 This ornate and sparkly mask would make a fantastic Halloween costume!

 Looks like this necklace was made for me. I wish.

 I would also totally wear this one.

 A bunch of flowers or a brooch?

 The lighting in this photo isn’t the best, but this is basically a breastplate made of lovely yellow beading–would love to rock something like this!

 Directly upstairs from the jewelry exhibit was a sculpture exhibit called Body & Soul, New International Ceramics. 

This exhibit was definitely a departure from the colorful and the pretty, though there were still stunning pieces. The focus of most of the pieces was the human body, but not in the ways we normally see or conceive of the body, in art or the our daily lives.

One artist in particular struck me–Jessica Harrison, a young British artist, took princess figurines she found in various flea markets, thrift stores, and other places, and reworked them to create haunting figures of women literally ripping themselves apart and putting their insides on display.


What I liked about this exhibit was the subversion of the expected, the spotlight on the grotesque and the macabre to show that there’s more to art than aesthetic beauty. It made me think about my writing–I tend to write very realistic stories that veer toward the safe and expected. I’m trying to challenge myself to break out of that mold of reality, but it’s tough. I feel like this exhibit takes the expected and turns it on its head, which is something that writers like George Saunders, Karen Russell, and Aimee Bender do so well in their stories. It’s something I’m going to keep in mind as I keep trying to figure out my writing voice.


How did you celebrate the long weekend?


2 Responses Post a comment
  1. October 17, 2013

    I love this! Is it The Met that has that one room of spectacular Jazz-era-ish jewelry by a famous guy I don’t remember? I seem to remember little about the visit except for the pieces themselves, all of which I wanted. There was a guard watching me intently, so I can only imagine I had a glint in my eye.

  2. Raquel permalink
    October 24, 2013


    That is all. :)

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