Celebrating Jewels in Central Park’s Crowning Restaurant

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

White marble, driftwood, recycled plastic and even repurposed skateboards were just a few of the many unconventional materials seen at the Museum of Arts and Design’s LOOT: MAD About Jewelry Opening Benefit last night. With a bit of imagination and hours of design, these mediums were transformed into necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, cufflinks and more, by 54 artists from 21 countries around the world. The evening, sponsored by Paolo Costagli, marked the 17th edition of the annual exhibition and sale of contemporary art jewelry, celebrating the museum’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee.

Chaired by Marsy Mittlemann and curated by Bryna Pomp, the event started with a cocktail reception where guests had the chance to meet the artists, try on pieces and shop to their hearts’ content. 

Starting today until April 8th, the pop-up store will be open to the public with museum admission. “I look at jewelry portfolios 365 days a year,” says Pomp, who wakes up at 5:30 a.m. on most days and wastes no time getting to work. “It’s black or white and I know immediately if I’m in love with it.” The diverse mix of artists shown at LOOT—even ones that are hard to track down—are the result of Pomp’s relentless spirit. “Each of them have a unique vision of what jewelry can and should be. That’s what I find extraordinary.”

Spotted in the crowd was the unmissable pink-haired Dame Zandra Rhodes, who was honorary chair of the event. When asked about her personal jewelry collection, she says you’ll find, “lots and lots of glittery brooches.” Rhodes, also known as the “Princess of Punk”, has been celebrated for decades for her talent in fashion design. She recently created all the textiles for Valentino’s spring 2017 collection and is working with to design one-of-a-kind bespoke dresses.

Following the shopping spree, a dinner was held at Robert, the art-filled ninth floor restaurant that crowns the museum’s tower, with a sweeping view north encompassing Central Park and the glittery Broadway. Awards were presented to honorees Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Francine LeFrak, and Kara Ross, for their contributions to the jewelry field. 

Before the evening wrapped up, Ross, who appeared on AVENUE‘s January cover, expressed her thoughts during a sincere acceptance speech. “To me, jewelry is more powerful than even traditional art, sculptures and printed photography because it is wearable art. It speaks about how you express yourself and how people see you. You might like a painting on the wall but you’re not going to put a chain around it and slap it around your neck, unless you might want,” she says jokingly. “But with a piece of jewelry, you can, and that’s very powerful.”

Proceeds from evening help support the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs. Dinner co-chairs included Iris Apfel, Corice Arman, Michele Ateyeh, Noreen Buckfire, Marian C. Burke, Kathy Chazen, Michele Cohen, Paolo Costagli, Patti Dweck, Joan Hornig, Ann Kaplan, Judith Leiber, Shari Siadat Loeffler, Liz Swig, Barbara Tober, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, and Barbara Waldman.


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by Michael GrossPhotographed by Joe Schildhorn and Darian DiCianno/