Beyond Bling: Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibits jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection

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Beyond Bling: Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibits jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection
Gijs Bakker, Dew Drop necklace, 1982. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Lois and Bob Boardman (M.2014.198.7) © Gijs Bakker / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York, NY / Beeldrecht, Amsterdam. Photo © Museum Associates / LACMA.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is presenting Beyond Bling: Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection, showcasing for the first time selected works from the Lois Boardman collection of international contemporary studio jewelry, recently donated to LACMA. The collection comprises over 300 pieces that represent the full spectrum of unconventional jewelry-making in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and has immediately vaulted LACMA’s contemporary jewelry holdings to the top ranks in the country.

The jewelers in the collection have followed the lead of earlier makers who defied conventions by creating innovative designs and using non-precious materials to make works prized for their artistic rather than monetary value. They continue to push the boundaries of their field, making jewelry that is distinguished by its personal and political messages, its unlikely media, and its humor and wit.

Beyond Bling is co-curated by Rosie Chambers Mills, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Associate Curator, and Bobbye Tigerman, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Associate Curator, in the Decorative Arts and Design department at LACMA. The exhibition features over 50 pieces of jewelry from the Boardman gift, plus several surprising comparisons from across LACMA’s permanent collection, including an array of ancient Egyptian scarabs. The jewelry is made from a wide range of precious and non-precious materials including gold, silver, copper, brass, enamel, feathers, glass, textiles, Neoprene, Plexiglas, PVC, and other plastics.

The structure of the exhibition is inspired by cabinets of curiosities—a historic mode of display that highlights the diversity and popular appeal of the Boardman collection. The single-gallery exhibition is arranged according to the early scientific categories “animal,” “vegetable,” and “mineral,” with the addition of “plastic” to account for the artificial materials used by many studio jewelers. Related objects from the museum’s permanent collection demonstrate how contemporary jewelry can stimulate new insights when viewed alongside LACMA’s encyclopedic holdings.

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