Ornament as Art: Avant-Garde Jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection fully explores the impact of contemporary jewelry as a global art form. The goal of the exhibition is to broaden the understanding of contemporary jewelry through a multilayered, critical assessment of the history, issues, and most importantly, the jewelry itself. Placed in context with seminal movements in the non-craft art world, the exhibition encourages the appreciation of contemporary jewelry beyond its traditional boundaries without ignoring its roots. Approximately 300 objects, including about 275 pieces of jewelry, 20 drawings and watercolors, and 3 constructions and sculptures are included in the exhibition.
Over her lifetime, the legendary scholar, educator and gallery director Helen Williams Drutt, assembled arguably one of the most comprehensive collections of contemporary studio jewelry in the world. In 2002 the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston acquired 720 pieces of Drutt’s jewelry and 84 works on paper. Over 175 artists from 18 countries are represented with the largest concentration working in the United States, Western Europe, Japan and Australia.
Ornament as Art: Avant-Garde Jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection has been organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Generous funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rotasa Foundation.