The 10th anniversary edition of Salon Art + Design is taking over New York’s Park Avenue Armory from tomorrow, with a highly curated celebration of art and design featuring immersive exhibits from over 50 international galleries and artists. To mark the first time that artistic jewelry has been exhibited, jewelry designer Silvia Furmanovich created an installation honoring the rainforests of her native Brazil and celebrating “the importance, rarity and beauty of nature”.
In addition to US exhibitors, this year’s Salon will include European and international galleries like Nathan Litera Paris and London’s Didier artist jewelry gallery, which will be showing jewelry by female artists whose wearable art “became an extension of their artistic persona”. Newcomers to the fair Culture Object will also be present, as well as Macklowe Gallery, which will be showing a newly discovered silver necklace by the abstract artist Alexander Calder alongside opulent examples of the iconic stained glass lamps by Louis Comfort Tiffany and wearable art by both Tiffany and Jean Despres. Appropriately, Tiffany designed several interiors for the Armory, each typical of the elaborate style of the Gilded Age.
The Calder necklace is a particularly exciting exhibit. It was recently authenticated by the Calder Foundation and was preivously part of the private collections of Abby Rockefeller Milton O’Neill and Ellen Hunt Milton Harrison. “This important necklace exemplifies Calder’s modernist interpretation of timeless forms of ancient art from across the globe, expressed in a playful way, on an intimate scale,” says a spokesperson for the Gallery. “Here, Calder reinterprets the ancient form of the fringe necklace.”
Elsewhere, Negropontes will be showing a series of sculptural silver rings by Jean-Christophe Malaval, whose soft angles and extra-terrestrial forms are rooted in the artist’s exploration of mythology, science fiction and architecture. Says the gallery: “Jean-Christophe Malaval’s work is awesome sculptural work. Wearing one of his rings is like having a small sculpture close to you the whole time.” The Salon will also play host to several talks, including a NYC Jewelry Week-hosted conversation around Wallace Chan’s extraordinary and rarely exhibited gemstone butterfly jewelry.
Alongside the treasures in the gallery booths, Silvia Furmanovich’s installation honoring the Brazilian rainforests celebrates the first time artistic jewelry has been included at the Salon. Fittingly housed in the sumptuous Library, with windows and lighting designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany in his signature style, Furmanovich will be showcasing recent jewelry work as well as a debut line of objects for the home, including an incredible display of Brazilian wood marquetry in a toadstool stool, a side table inspired by a leaf skeleton, vases, bowls and mirrors. The designer told me more about the project, the importance of putting the work of artisans from the Amazon on the world stage, and how the rainforests inspire her.
You have created an installation featuring some of your newest work to mark 10 years of Salon Art & Design, and the inclusion of artistic jewelry at the Salon for the first time. How did this come about?
We are presenting our installation in the Library Room at the Park Avenue Armory, one of America’s finest landmarks with extraordinary period 19th century rooms. This is the second room at the Armory designed by Louis C. Tiffany, including its windows and fixtures. It’s a magnificent setting reminiscent of the Gilded Age, we were inspired to create an installation evoking the natural world – recreating a piece of the Amazon rainforest – which provides a powerful, contrasting counterpart to the original context. The setting inspired us to create an exhibition that conjures up the importance, rarity and beauty of nature.
Tell me about the new work you will be showing. What were your inspirations?
For the first time, we are debuting one-a-kind items for the home that are more sculptural in nature. Many will be editions of eight with an emphasis on exquisite craftsmanship and how it relates to the worlds of art & design.
We were inspired by the richness of the Amazon rainforest’s fauna and flora. It’s a place I return to time and time again for my research. Every time I visit the Amazon, I discover something new, whether the colors of a butterfly or bird, a new kind of wood or a different species of flower or tree.
You chose to pay tribute to the Amazon rainforest in your installation. Tell me a little more about why this theme is important to you.
The idea is to celebrate and preserve master artisans and craftsmanship, showing how long it takes to make things by hand. We value things that are made by hand. We would like to give value and voice to the work of local artisans by presenting them in a world-class setting. These artists are located in the Amazon, a place of great beauty and vast natural resources, so we wanted to call attention to the richness that exists in this area of the world.
What do you expect visitors will learn about the Amazon forest through your artistic jewelry?
We would like to evoke the riches of the rainforest and celebrate the unconventional, exquisite forms of craftsmanship that exist in those remote areas. And hopefully people will be left with a sense that the world needs to work hard to preserve nature and our limited resources.
You are known for using unusual materials and techniques that reflect global cultures. Tell me about the materials in this collection and why you chose them to celebrate the Amazon rainforest.
For the works presented at Salon, we have used very thin and vibrant-colored wood veneer found by artisans in the forest floors. They also use veneer offcuts from the furniture industry, so there is a nice dimension of reusable materials here. These pieces of wood are cut into tiny slivers and assembled like jigsaw puzzle to create works of astonishing beauty and intricate detail.
Are you debuting any new techniques or aesthetics with the work on show?
We are delving deeper and deeper into marquetry, a process we have been exploring and developing for the last six years in collaboration with an incredibly talented group of artisans who live in the forest. This technique has a long tradition in the world’s decorative arts traditions, but here, we’ve reimagined it in a wholly contemporary way. For the first time, we will also be showcasing sculptures created with outsider artist Mestre André da Marinheira, who lives in the North of Brazil and who sculpts felines and other figures out of wood based on the natural and animal worlds. He uses a lot of jackfruit wood, which has a magnificent yellow hue. Many of the woods he uses are parts of the trees that have fallen to the ground.
Salon Art + Design is at the Park Avenue Armory, New York City, November 11-15.