Calder Jewelry

Most of us know Alexander Calder, the famous sculptor. Both his stationary works, which he called "stabiles", and his revolutionary "mobiles" define our cities in displays of public art. But how many are familiar with Calder the jeweler? The first exhibition dedicated to his lesser known, more diminutive work, Calder Jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings, and tiaras. Some pieces are kinetic sculptures themselves, requiring the wearer to be mindful of their moving parts. Angelica Houston once had to tie her hair back into a tight knot so not to tangle it in her Calder necklace's bobbing spikes. Like his sculpture, Calder's jewelry is dynamic and unique, none meant for mass production. He created more than 1800 pieces for friends and family — many for other famous folks like Georgia O'Keeffe, for whom he made a brass "OK." The collection is rustic and elemental, dominated by swirls, flowers, insects, stars, and waves. Worn by celebrities like Brooke Shields and socialites like Peggy Guggenheim, the jewelry's value is the design alone. Made of non-precious metals (usually hammered brass or steel), irregular chunks of colored glass, and pieces of pottery, the jewelry in this exhibit embodies the artist's inventive whimsy. (Through June 15 at Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. 561-832-5196.)

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Marya Summers