Thursday, February 20, 2020. Not so chilly weather yesterday in New York, with temps in the upper-40s, and the sun shone brightly throughout the day. I noticed on Tuesday that in the grey of the day, the witch hazel is now budding in the Park. It’s a few days earlier than last year and a couple weeks earlier than the year before. The forsythia should be coming along to bud in the week or ten days, too.
I had lunch on Tuesday at Michael’s with the peripatetic Judy Price. It was Judy who introduced me to Michael’s eons ago (in the late ‘90s) when I was editing Avenue, the very successful monthly magazine she launched in the mid-70s (and sold after celebrating its 25th anniversary at the beginning of the new century).
Judy is one of those girls who loves to travel. She and her husband Peter Price have traveled the world, (and been married — in ceremony — several times on their voyages). For several years now, they keep an apartment in Paris, and visit very frequently, mainly on business.
After selling her magazine, Judy, the indefatigable entrepreneur that she is, launched a new business — the National Jewelry Institute — which is a “non-profit source of knowledge, standards and education in the art of luxury.” Their “mission” is “empower the next generation of industry leaders by connecting (our) members with top luxury brand executives.” Among their activities they’ve published several books on the history of jewels and jewelry.
Members of NJI get to see the workings of such brands as Armani, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Christie’s, Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy, and other global luxury brands. It should be noted that the success of Judy’s magazine back then was her innate ability to publicize, promote, and advertise. She reads, she’s curious, and she “doesn’t miss a trick” as my mother used to say about the shrewder ones.
Every year, the NJI holds an annual gala where members from all over the world get to meet each other as well as those individuals who run the businesses in the world of luxury as well as those power people who drive the business of art and design in New York, Paris and other world capitals. Their programs provide an intimate, luxury educational experience.
Because of the tremendous buzz in the cultural world of the Louvre Abu Dhabi designed by architect Jean Nouvel, last month, Judy hosted the NJI gala at the Louvre Abu Dhabi where at the time the exhibition was a history of luxury in civilizations dating from Sumeria, the earliest known civilization, right up to today.
Each year the National Jewelry Institute honors someone important in arts and culture. His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan introduced the guest of honor. The Sheikh is Minister of Tolerance for the United Arab Emirates. This was the year of tolerance, and not only was there a synagogue inaugurated but they openly discussed tolerance of women in the workforce.
This year they honored Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, who is Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development. Noura is not only the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, but is President of Zayad University, which has close to 10,000 students. The NJI presented Noura with a work from an important photographer, Steve McCurry.
Men wore dark suits and ties or native dress. Women were very glamorous in their gowns, pants, and jewelry.
Attendees were not only local residents and socialites, but presidents of the leadership of luxury firms such as Rolls-Royce, Loro Piana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Fendi, Boucheron, Saint Laurent, Chalhoub Group, COTY, J.P. Morgan, Cindy Chao The Art Jewel, and Payal New York.
The 300 guests came from all over the world. Two-star Chef Thierry Marx of the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, flew in with his staff to prepare the menu.
Before dinner, guests first viewed a temporary exhibition —10,000 Years of Luxury — which will travel to the Musee de Arts Decoratifs in Paris. Peter Price, who Judy said is not an art groupie, spent 45 minutes taking in the fascinating exhibition, which included an Edo top, an Italian bracelet from the 1stcentury, a Jean-Michel Frank table, and a feathered saddle from Hermès.
Instead of flowers, each one of the 30 tables had a Calder sculpture as a centerpiece. (One plate on each table had a sticker and that lucky person got to take home the Calder as a gift.) Mother Nature also delivered a brief touch of “Climate Change” that week which began with “hurricane rains” (in a place that sees very little rain), followed by strong very cold winds.
Back in New York, Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and board member Marcella Hymowitz brought friends to a private tour of Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse, the new exhibition at The Museum at FIT.
FIT Museum Deputy Director Patricia Mears helped put the exhibition into context: “Today we take for granted that ballerinas have a major impact on modern fashion. However this is a relatively recent phenomenon. For most of ballets long history, professional female dancers may have been lauded for their beauty and their skills but, with very few exceptions, were not viewed as proper ladies in society. Beginning with the Ballet Russe in Paris in1910 and with the rise of great US and UK ballet companies in the 1930s, this all charged and with a profound impact on fashion.”
More than 25 donors to YAGP listened in rapt attention as they were led though 80 objects, including high fashion, ranging from Parisian couture, British custom-made clothing, and American ready-to-wear, as well as costumes and rehearsal clothing all illustrating the rich yet often overlooked connection between classical ballet and fashion.
Following the tour, Net-A-Porter were hosts to an intimate luncheon at The Wilson. Guests included Simon Doonan, Grace Fuller, Judith Hoffman, Susan Gutfreund, Pat Kerr Tigrett, Laura Lobdell, Candice Lupton, Colby Mulgrabi, Daisy Prince, Rene Rothschild, Lesley Thompson, and YAGP Founder (and former Bolshoi dancer) Larissa Saveliev.
Youth America Grand Prix is the world’s largest ballet scholarship competition. Over the past 21 years, more than $4 million has been awarded in scholarships to leading dance institutions to over 100,000 young dancers. More than 450 YAGP alumni are now dancing with 80 professional companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet and many others. The annual YAGP gala, Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow returns to the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on April 16th, 2020. This year’s all-star cast includes Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes, Daniil Simkin and Anna Ol of Staatsballett Berlin. The performances will include World Premiere choreography by YAGP Alumna Lauren Lovett (NYCB), and a performance by Mariinsky Ballet’s rising star Maria Khoreva and YAGP alum Victor Caixeta.
More exhibitions. Last week, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) hosted a private opening of their new exhibition, 45 Stories in Jewelry: 1947 to Now. Artists, curators, and collectors were invited to preview MAD’s unique, world-class collection of studio and contemporary art jewelry. Selected by an advisory committee to represent significant developments in art jewelry since the mid-century, 45 Stories in Jewelry showcases jewelry artists for whom anything can serve as inspiration—from a material or found object to the pressing social and political issues of our time. In 2008, MAD created a dedicated jewelry gallery with 45 open storage drawers. 45 Stories in Jewelry debuts the redesign of these drawers, contextualizing the work within history to deepen viewers’ understanding of the field.
Christopher Scoates, the museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director said at the reception, “The Museum of Arts and Design has a great track record of experimental exhibitions, and I look forward to building upon its rich history of craft, art, and design. With its dedicated staff and board, I know we can position ourselves as a leading museum in the 21st century.” He introduced Michele Cohen, Museum Chair, who was met with applause as she shared her excitement about 45 Stories in Jewelry: “I love that jewelry has the ability to transcend time, culture, and gender. I am honored to be associated with the only American museum to have a permanent space committed to showcasing its permanent jewelry collection along with contemporary innovators.” Barbara Gifford, MAD curator charged with jewelry selection, added, “I hope this exhibition may give emerging artists the confidence to explore what is inside of them and express it through their chosen art medium, no matter the subject matter.”
Guests included MAD board members Jerome Chazen, Marsy Mittlemann, Linda Plattus, and Chairman Emerita Barbara Tober, as well as Hope Byer, Oded Halahmy, LaVon Kellner, Susan Grant Lewin, Aimee Maroney, Janis Gardner Cecil, Lauren La Puma, Melissa Gottesman, Tina Livanos, and Kay Unger. Other notable guests included MAD’s LOOT curator Bryna Pomp, founder of Gem X NYC Jewelry club Jamison Lin, and fashion designer Anna Sui, who’s own exhibit, The World of Anna Sui, continues at MAD through February 23rd.
MAD will continue its celebration of jewelry with the 20th edition of LOOT: MAD About Jewelry on April 20th. LOOT is a week-long show and sale where collectors and jewelry enthusiasts can meet more than 50 creators of spectacular wearable art, learn about their inspiration and processes, and take home their one-of-a-kind works of contemporary art jewelry.
The event will include a VIP preview and dinner on April 20th. The dinner will honor Stellene Volandes, Editor-in-Chief of Town & Country. This season of jewelry will also include the seventh edition of RE:FINE on May 14th. The Store at Mad will present a curated selection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more from artists who offer a refreshing alternative to the conventional world of fine jewelry. The official opening will be preceded by a press preview on May 13th.
MAD champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives.
Photographs by Annie Watt (MAD); Don Stahl (YAGP)