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Material Beauty: Modern Hopi, Navajo and Pueblo Artist Jewelers

November 12 - December 4, 2018

 

Mahnaz Collection announces the third exhibition in its series on modern masters of jewelry design: Material Beauty: Modern Native American Artist Jewelers of the Southwest. Featuring over 175 pieces, the exhibition offers a perspective on key directions that southwestern Native American jewelry has taken since the 1960s. Material Beauty centers around the dynamic workshops of select Hopi, Navajo and Pueblo artist jewelers, showcasing the most original and influential masters, along with select emerging artists, with the aim of bringing a considered curation of their work to wider audiences in the United States and abroad. (The exhibition will also include works by two non-Native jewelers who inserted themselves into the idioms of the Southwest.) Accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, Material Beauty will be on view at the Mahnaz Collection gallery on 57th Street in New York, from November 12 through December 4.

Since its inception, Mahnaz Collection has built its collection of fine Hopi, Navajo and Pueblo jewelry from the 1960s onwards, as an integral part of its American jewelry collection. The new exhibition centers on two independent workshops: the first is that of the Hopi renaissance artist Charles Loloma and his two acknowledged proteges, his niece Verma Nequetewa (Sonwai) and the French-Moroccan artist jeweler Eveli Sabatie; and the second is that of San Felipe Pueblo jeweler Richard Chavez, joined by his son Jared. Additional works in the exhibition come from the important workshops of independent jewelers Preston Monongye and his son Jesse Monongya, the brothers, Lee Yazzie and Raymond Yazzie, the wife and husband team of Gail Bird and Yazzie Johnson, along with Gibson Nez, Edison Cummings, McKee Platero, Vernon Haskie, Pat Pruitt, Keri Ataumbi and Jennifer Curtis.

Material Beauty shows how these jewelers have created world-class work by drawing inspiration from multiple sources ranging from their own geographies and traditions to more distant artistic movements and concepts.

 A lapis lazuli, coral, turquoise and 18 karat gold cuff, by Richard Chavez, 1995

A lapis lazuli, coral, turquoise and 18 karat gold cuff, by Richard Chavez, 1995

 A cabochon turquoise and tufa cast 14 karat gold cuff, with channel set coral, lapis and turquoise interior, by Charles Loloma, c. 1975

A cabochon turquoise and tufa cast 14 karat gold cuff, with channel set coral, lapis and turquoise interior, by Charles Loloma, c. 1975

In materials long-used, such as silver and turquoise, as well as in an expansive panoply of newer materials such as gold, opal, black jade and zirconium, these master jewelers have expressed compelling ideas about the valued past and the meaningful future. By creating new styles and using new techniques they have made noteworthy qualitative shifts in jewelry design; and by revisiting existing styles of workmanship, they have built reputations as makers of the highest quality work.

“To my mind, New York, a global center of jewelry should become far more engaged with the work of these exciting world-class jewelers” says Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos. “In this exhibition of museum-quality work, the jewelry does the talking: it tells the story of how Native American artists working in diverse styles, have gifted a unique, universal beauty to the material world as we know it today.”

 
 A Bisbee turquoise, coral, and sterling silver repouse bee pendant, by McKee Platero, c. 2015

A Bisbee turquoise, coral, and sterling silver repouse bee pendant, by McKee Platero, c. 2015

 A coral, gaspeite, lapis lazuli, opal, turquoise and 18 karat gold ring, by Jesse Monongya, c. 2010

A coral, gaspeite, lapis lazuli, opal, turquoise and 18 karat gold ring, by Jesse Monongya, c. 2010

 An onyx, coral, turquoise, shell and sterling silver belt buckle, by Richard Chavez, 2006

An onyx, coral, turquoise, shell and sterling silver belt buckle, by Richard Chavez, 2006