ATTLEBORO — The Attleboro Museum of Art will partner with Wheaton College to present “Orned! Creation of jewelry from the ancient Mediterranean in Attleboro” from February 12 to 26 at the Ottmar gallery.
The exhibition, says AAM, features selected objects from Wheaton’s permanent collection, considers how taste and impressions are developed, and invites visitors to share personal connections to better understand background, design and materials. of an object.
Among the college’s most important collections is the Newell Bequest, which arrived on campus in 1967. It includes dozens of adornments, ranging from Mesopotamian bone charms to ward off evil and Egyptian faience and gold necklaces, to Roman glass bracelets and perfume bottles.
The works will be displayed alongside a set of approximately 150 hand-drawn designs for brooches, earrings, necklaces and other forms of adornment from AAM’s permanent collection. The designs depict jewelry incorporating patterns – wildlife, floral and geometric – and techniques also found in many of the Newell Bequest ornaments. The similarities help illustrate the elements of continuity and change in jewelry design and production, whether in the ancient Mediterranean world or in southeastern Massachusetts in the 20th century, says AAM.
Adra Marshall Newell (1885-1966) built up her collection during a lifetime of travels with her husband, Edward T. Newell (1886-1941), a renowned American numismatist. The creators and donors of the museum’s jewelry designs have yet to be identified. Prior to the development of “Orned!”, little research had been conducted on individual Newell Bequest objects or the museum’s jewelry designs, nor had the collections been put on public display.
“Projects like ‘Orned!’ to offer our students the opportunity to engage in experiential object-based learning at its finest,” said Leah Niederstadt, Associate Professor of Museum Studies and Curator of the Wheaton Permanent Collection. “They collaborate and learn from each other, collections, and community members both on and off campus, while creating new knowledge and building the skills needed to succeed at Wheaton and beyond.”
Using jewelry and jewelry making as an entry point, “Orned!” explores broader issues around class, culture and appropriation as well as the control of resources and the production of luxury goods.
“Ornamented!” is the third collaborative exhibition between AAM and Wheaton. Each exhibit featured either collection-based research by Wheaton students or original artwork created by them.
“The partnership with Wheaton College has always resulted in provocative exhibitions and ‘Orned!’ is no exception,” said AAM Executive Director and Chief Curator Mim Brooks Fawcett. “This exhibit showcases objects and renderings that have rarely, if ever, been on public display, resulting in pairings that establish unexpected and remarkable relationships, and uses current technology to bring ancient objects and 2D renderings to life. “
An opening reception/open house will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, February 12. It’s free and open to all masked guests. RSVP to 508-222-2644 x10 or [email protected]
“Ornamented!” is presented in partnership with Wheaton College and supported by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Humanities Research for the Public Good program.